In the past, one of the most common questions on a job application or interview was, “How much were you making at your previous job?” If the answer was on the low end, some businesses found it a perfect opportunity to offer a lower salary to the new employee, or perhaps pass them over if the wage was too high.
Those days are over under AB 168, which amends California Labor Code Section 432 to prohibit employers from asking anything about an applicant’s salary history or benefits. Additionally, if requested by the applicant, employers must disclose the actual pay scale for the advertised position.
If the applicant discloses the wage history voluntarily and without prompting, the employer must still follow the Equal Pay Act. This prohibits employers to use prior pay history as justification to offer a lower salary to different races, sexes, or ethnicities. AB 168 went into effect January 1, 2018.
One caveat: The law does allow employers to review pay history that has been disclosed to the public, such as on GlassDoor.com
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