Kimberly Chase in SHRM: SF Might Ban Salary History Questions

07/13/2017

San Francisco might be the next city to ban employers from asking job applicants about their salary histories.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently voted to pass such an ordinance that would apply to employers within the city's boundaries. The proposal is still pending Democratic Mayor Ed Lee's signature.

The proposed ordinance has a broad reach, said Kimberly Chase, an attorney with Haynes and Boone in Orange County. The law would apply to all employers, including city contractors and subcontractors. It would also apply to all job applicants in the city—even those applying for temporary, contingent, seasonal or part-time work.

The purpose of the law would be to combat gender-based pay inequities that continue over the course of a woman's career. "The problematic practices of seeking salary history from job applicants and relying on their current or past salaries to set employees' pay rates contribute to the gender wage gap by perpetuating wage inequalities across the occupational spectrum," the proposed ordinance states.

Women in San Francisco are paid about 84 cents for every dollar men are paid, and women of color earn even less (black women are paid 60 cents and Latinas are paid 55 cents for every dollar paid to men), according to the proposed law. …

"It's worth noting that it's possible that a similar pay parity law will be passed statewide in California," Chase said. A.B. 168 would prohibit employers in the state from seeking salary history information from job applicants—but it's too early to tell if that bill will become law, she added.

Excerpted from SHRM (HR Magazine). To read the full article, click here.

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