NEW LAW – Salary History Questions are banned in San Francisco

The City and County of San Francisco recently passed a new ordinance that, when it goes into effect on July 1, 2018, will ban employers from considering a job applicant’s salary history when making hiring decisions (whether to hire the applicant and the salary to pay the applicant).

Specifically, the new ordinance prohibits employers from asking any questions about an applicant’s salary history. It also prohibits employers from disclosing a current or former employee’s salary history without the employee’s authorization. The only exception to this disclosure ban is if the employee’s salary history is publicly available or is subject to a collective bargaining agreement.

After the law goes effect on July 1, 2018, employers receive a one-year “adjustment period” where the city will issue written warnings and notices to offending employers, but will not issue any monetary penalties. However, starting July 1, 2019, San Francisco employers may be subject to fines for violation of this law.

It is recommended that San Francisco employers review their employment applications and verify that any inquiries about salary history are removed. In addition, any interview question templates should be reviewed and questions relating to salary history should be removed. Finally, all employees who participate in interviews should be trained not to inquire about salary history.