AB 168: California bans salary history requests and gives job applicants right to request salary range information

Following in the footsteps of Delaware, Massachusetts and Oregon, the State of California has a new law banning employers from asking about salary history.

On October 12, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 168, which was authored by Democratic Assemblywoman Dr. Susan Talamantes Eggman of Stockton. The bill will become Section 432.3 of the Labor Code, effective January 1, 2018.

AB 168 prohibits an employer from seeking salary history information about an applicant for employment. Additionally, employers will be prohibited from relying on the salary history of a job applicant as a factor in determining whether to offer employment, or what salary to offer an applicant.

Further, this bill will make California the first state to require an employer, upon reasonable request, to provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant for employment who requests it.

In 2016, California women who were full-time wage and salary workers earned median weekly earnings of $814 or 88 percent of the $925 earnings of their male counterparts, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although California recently enacted the California Fair Pay Act, many argued that additional protections to prevent an employer from even asking about past salary were needed to stop discrimination before it happens.

However, the bill does not go so far as to prohibit an applicant from “voluntarily” and without prompting, disclosing his or her salary history information. An employer who considers or relies on that “voluntarily” disclosed salary history information in determining salary, will not violate the law.

The new law will apply to all employers, public and private, including state and local government employers.

By Carlos Almendárez | November 6, 2017

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