On March 12, 2019, Cincinnati, Ohio passed an ordinance prohibiting employers from asking applicants about their salary history or current earnings.
What are the details?
The new “Prohibited Salary History Inquiry and Use” provision of the city code makes it an illegal discriminatory practice for a company within the city to ask applicants about their past or current salary, screen applicants based on wages or benefits, rely on salary history in hiring decisions or in determining compensation, or to refuse to hire or otherwise retaliate against an applicant who refuses to provide his or her salary history.
The salary history measure excludes several situations where employers are allowed to consider an applicant’s past wages, such as internal transfers or promotions, situations where employees are rehired within five years of leaving a company, or in situations where federal law allows employers to consider salary.
Companies are also allowed to look at salary information if it comes up in the process of a background check while verifying non-salary-related disclosures from an employee, as long as this information is not used as a basis for determining compensation during hiring. In addition, the provision does not apply to any “voluntary and unprompted” disclosures related to an applicant’s pay history.
There is no specific penalty or fine outlined, but applicants who are harmed by an employer that violates the provision may bring suit within two years of the violation and can recover compensatory damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.
The salary history ban will take effect one year from the date of the ordinance.
What do employers need to do?
Employers in Cincinnati should review their hiring practices and interviewing techniques to make certain they will not violate this new salary history ban.