Cities and states in the US are banning employers from asking for candidates' salary history, as part of an effort to eliminate the gender wage gap.
• Cities, states, and territories around the US are banning employers from asking for a job candidate's pay history.
• Some laws just ban public employers from asking, while others ban public and private employers.
• The pattern is part of an effort to eliminate the gender wage gap.
If there's one thing job seekers hate, it's the dreaded salary question: "How much did you make in your last job?"
Interviewees just can't win when it comes to this inquiry.
Answer honestly, and you might get low-balled when it comes to your starting salary. Fudge your past earnings, and you risk getting caught in a lie and terminated.
The recent trend is all part of a push to fight wage discrimination and the gender pay gap. Women earn 79 cents for every dollar men earn, Business Insider previously reported. The theory is that salary history questions can inadvertently cause these inequalities to snowball over time.
Founder of New York City-based search firm Atlas Search Peter Riccio has researched both the pay gap and the new laws.
"The gender pay gap starts after graduation," Riccio told Business Insider "Women in the workforce are coming into salary negotiations behind. Offers are calculated largely — not solely — but largely based off of what that candidate is currently earning."
His firm has implemented a total ban on the salary question — not just for New York City-based clients, but for all clients. Riccio said that he believes the laws banning the salary question will help to fight the gender wage gap. And Riccio added that such rules will likely not only benefit women, but all individuals who might be hurt by the salary history question, like workers on visas and employees moving from an area with a low cost of living to an area with a higher cost of living.
"Now, the offers are going to be made more based on the candidate's capability and skill set," Riccio said.
Here are the cities and states where the salary question is banned or set to be banned in the near future, in some capacity:
In addition to the localities marked on this map, Maryland has a bill floating around its legislature that would enact a similar ban, WAMU 88.5 reported.
On the opposite side of it, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, Illinois' legislature did pass a similar ban, but it was vetoed by governor Bruce Rauner.
And Bloomberg reported that Michigan and Wisconsin have prohibited such bans on salary history questions.