In an effort to continue working toward closing the gender wage gap, more states are enacting laws that prevent an employer from asking a candidate or applicant for compensation history. Delaware is the most recent state to sign a law (effective December 2017) restricting employers from asking for compensation history.

They can however, consider a candidate’s salary history should the applicant share that information voluntarily. It will still be legal for employers to share the salary range of the positions they are hiring for, and to ask a candidate what their desired salary range is.

This new law also protects companies from being held responsible if a representative, such as a third-party recruiter, should unlawfully request salary information from an applicant or candidate. Additionally, employers will still be allowed to request salary history from an applicant after an offer has already been extended and accepted, but only to confirm their history.

The rationale behind such laws is that when no salary history is disclosed, employers are forced to make offers based upon the work being done, and the work experience of the candidate. Therefore, making it less likely that currently underpaid applicants will not have their salary history used against them and continue to be underpaid.

Oregon has recently signed a similar law (June 2017), as have, Massachusetts, New York state and New York City (effective October 31, 2017), Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans.

If you are an employer in any of these areas, be sure to review your current hiring practices with an employment attorney, and update them to be compliant with these changes. Also, check on any laws or pending legislation that may soon be enacting similar changes in the states where you are hiring.

For more information about human resources practices, consult with the team at The HR Manager ( For information about how you can use prescreening questions to streamline recruiting, please contact the team at The Applicant Manager (


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Note: As our support staff and consultants are not licensed to practice law, we are not able to provide legal advice. On any matters involving interpretation of applicable law, regulation or statute, we recommend that clients consult legal counsel.