Should LA Employers Be Barred from Asking About Salary History?

The Los Angeles City Council is directing city attorneys to explore the possibility of barring employers from requesting salary and wage history information. At the moment, employers can ask jobseekers for this information to justify offering lower pay. This can especially hurt women, a group that already experiences lower pay than their male counterparts. Proponents of such a rule claim it would help close the gender wage gap.

Women may have the same amount of work experience as men, but still have a history of lower pay. When women go to apply for new jobs, this lower salary history can stagnate their wages.

The City Council’s motion also directs the Personnel Department to see if it would be possible to remove salary history question from city job applications.

California recently passed Assembly Bill 1676, which has kept some employers from using salary information to pay women less than man. However, critics of the bill claim it does not go far enough.

Have Other Cities Enacted a Salary History Ban?

Los Angeles is not the first major city to ban some employers from asking about salary history. Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City signed an executive order banning municipal agencies from asking job applicants their salary histories.

Advocates of de Blasio’s executive order argue job applicants can face one discriminatory pay decision, and have it follow them to future jobs. It traps vulnerable workers in a cycle of receiving low pay. The mayor’s decision was partially based on closing the gender pay gap. It is possible Los Angeles’ possible ordinance will share many similarities with de Blasio’s executive order.

The Los Angeles labor law attorneys at Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison, P.C. can help workers fight back against employment discrimination.

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