On July 25, 2019, Acting Governor Sheila Oliver signed a law that bans employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. (A similar law was vetoed by former Governor Chris Christie in 2017.) New Jersey joins a growing number of states and cities that have, or are considering, passing salary history bans.
The new law makes it unlawful for an employer to (1) screen a job applicant based on the applicant’s salary history (prior wages, salaries or benefits); or (2) to require that an applicant’s salary history satisfy any minimum or maximum criteria.
The law also defines several situations where an employer may consider salary history: If an applicant voluntarily provides information on their salary history, the employer may consider such information. (Note, however, that an employer may not consider the fact that an applicant refuses to voluntarily provide this information.)
After an offer of employment has been made which includes an explanation of the overall compensation being offered, an employer may request a written authorization from the applicant to confirm salary history.
The law does not apply to applications for transfer or promotion with a current employer, or to actions taken pursuant to any federal law which requires the disclosure of salary history.
Civil penalties are available under the law; $1,000 for a first offense, $5,000 for a second offense and $10,000 for each offense thereafter. The law goes into effect in six months. Employers should utilize this time to examine their hiring and interview practices to ensure compliance with this new law.
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