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Illinois Law Banning Salary History Inquiries

    We are providing this summary of a recent employment law development in Illinois: 

    The Illinois Law Banning Salary History Inquiries Took Effect September 29, 2019 
    A new law in Illinois prohibits employers from asking about applicants’ past wage and compensation histories.  The law is meant to address the gender pay gap.  Passed by the state legislature on July 31, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed the bill into law, proclaiming that “[h]ere in Illinois, we know that women get the job done. It’s time to pay them accordingly.”

    The Act amends the Illinois Equal Pay Act of 2003 and applies to all employers.  It provides for the following:

    1. Prohibits employers from seeking salary history information;
    2. Bars employers from requiring employees to waive their rights to request, discuss, or disclose salary information; and
    3. Strengthens the 2003 Act’s equal pay provisions.

    What should you do:  

    Remove -- questions about salary history from employment applications, background check forms, and any other applicable forms or policies used during the hiring process.  

    Train -- human resources staff, internal recruiters, hiring managers, and anyone else involved in the hiring process (i.e., those conducting interviews or setting compensation levels at the organization) on the new law.  If an applicant voluntarily discloses salary history information at any point during the hiring process, inform the applicant that such information will not be considered in determining whether the applicant receives a job offer or the salary offered, and create a “memo to file” (or other internal documentation) noting that the applicant voluntarily disclosed this information and the circumstances surrounding the disclosure.

    Frequently Asked Questions on Wage History Ban

    1. Can employers ask for salary history or use salary history when determining whether to offer a job or when determining how much to pay the job applicant?
      No. It is unlawful for an employer to request or require a wage or salary history from a job applicant as a condition of being considered for employment or as a condition of employment.  That includes benefits or other compensation received at any current or former employer.
    2. Who is covered by the law?
      Illinois job applicants. This includes applicants to part-time and full-time positions, temporary or permanent, whether hourly or salary.  It does not include independent contractors.
    3. Can employers use recruiters to determine applicants' salary histories?
      No. Recruiters, employment agencies, staffing agency or any other agent of an employer may not screen applicants based on their current or prior wages or salary histories, benefits or other compensation.
    4. Can an employer ask a current or former employer of the job applicant for the applicant’s wage history?
      No. It is unlawful for an employer or their agent to ask for a wage or salary history, benefits or other compensation from an applicant’s employer or former employers when conducting verification or reference checks.
    5. What if the employee already works for the company where he or she is applying?
      The prohibition does not apply if a job applicant’s salary history is a matter of public record or if the applicant is a current employee applying with the same employer.
    6. Can an employer prohibit employees from discussing their salaries?
      No. An employer cannot prohibit its employees from disclosing their own salaries, benefits or other compensation to other individuals.
    7. Can job applicants volunteer salary history information?
       Yes. Applicants may voluntarily disclose their prior wage or salary history including benefits or other compensation. The employer shall not consider or rely on the voluntary disclosures as a factor in determining whether to offer a job applicant employment, in making an offer of compensation, or determining future wages, salary or benefits.
    8. Can employers provide a salary range to an applicant or discuss with an applicant their salary and benefits expectations?
      Yes. An employer can provide information about the wages, benefits, compensation, or salary offered in relation to a position. The employer can also engage in discussions with an applicant about the applicant’s expectations with respect to wage or salary or benefits.

    This communication does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Consult with a licensed attorney before taking any action based on this information. This email from the desk of NISHRM’s Board Member, Kathryn Hartrick of Hartrick Employment Law, Ltd. and could be considered advertising under applicable laws. The attorney responsible for the content of this communication is Kathryn Hartrick,