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Washington Salary History Ban

May 29th, 2019 | Joe Rotondo, Vice President of Compliance, Sterling

Washington Salary History Ban

Washington became the ninth state to pass a law that would prohibit employers from asking job applicants about their salary history (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont being the other states).

On May 9, 2019, Washington State Governor Inslee signed the Washington Equal Pay Opportunities Act (HB 1696), which would prohibit employers from inquiring into the prior “wage or salary history” of an applicant for employment. The law goes into effect in July 2019. Please see below for a summary of the law.

The bill would prohibit an employer:

  • From seeking the salary history of an applicant for employment from either the applicant or the applicant’s current or former employer.
  • From requiring that an applicant’s prior salary history “meet certain criteria,” a phrase which is not further defined in the bill.

However, an employer would be permitted to confirm an applicant’s salary history:

  • If the applicant voluntarily discloses their salary history; or
  • After the employer has negotiated and made an offer of employment with compensation to the applicant.

The bill would further require employers with fifteen or more employees:

  • Upon request of an applicant after an initial offer of employment has been made, to provide the minimum wage or salary for the position for which the applicant is applying.
  • Such employers would also be required, upon request of a current employee being offered an internal transfer or promotion, to provide the wage scale or salary range for the new position being offered.
  • If no wage scale or salary range exists, the employer would then have to provide the “minimum wage or salary expectation set by the employer prior to posting the position, making a position transfer, or making the promotion.”

The full text of the law can be found here: http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2019-20/Pdf/Bills/House%20Passed%20Legislature/1696-S.PL.pdf.

The information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Clients are encouraged to consult with their legal counsel on the impact of this new law. Sterling is not a law firm, and none of the information contained in this notice is intended as legal advice.

This and other important legislative updates can be found on the Sterling website:  Compliance Updates

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.