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September 28, 2020

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A Ban on Salary History Bans: Michigan Bars Local Governments from Prohibiting Such Inquiries

On March 26, 2018, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that prevents local governments from regulating the questions employers may ask of applicants during job interviews. The bill amends a 2015 law that prohibited local governments from banning salary history inquiries on job applications.

With this amendment, Michigan essentially has blocked local governments from instituting regulations that would prohibit employers from asking job applicants for salary history information. At the time of the bill’s signing, no municipality in the state had proposed an ordinance restricting pre-employment inquiries into salary history. Proponents of the bill contend that asking about an applicant’s past or current salary is a standard business practice and assists employers in budgeting. Opponents argue that soliciting salary history can perpetuate discriminatory pay gaps.

The new law goes against the tide of the growing number of states and municipalities that have enacted or proposed legislation limiting a prospective employer’s ability to obtain and use salary history information prior to an offer of employment. CaliforniaDelawareMassachusettsOregonPuerto RicoAlbany County (New York), New York City, and San Francisco have enacted salary history bans. Similar proposed legislation is pending in at least 14 other states.

Michigan may not hold for long the distinction of being the lone state to affirmatively resist “following the crowd” of jurisdictions with bans on salary history inquiries. Wisconsin is poised to pass similar legislation preempting local bans on salary history questions. The Wisconsin legislature has passed a preemption measure that includes a ban on salary history inquiry bans, sending the bill to the state Senate. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is expected to approve the bill if it is sent to him.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020National Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 88


About this Author

Stacey A. Bastone, Jackson Lewis, EEO-1 classifications lawyer, compensation analyses attorney

Stacey A. Bastone is an Associate in the Long Island, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She assists companies in the preparation of affirmative action plans for federal contractors including job group analyses, EEO-1 classifications, utilization analyses, compensation analyses and adverse impact analyses.

In addition, Ms. Bastone successfully has defended federal government contractors during audits conducted by the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) including...

(631) 247-0404
K. Joy Chin, Jackson Lewis, wage benefits lawyer, affirmative action attorney

Joy Chin is a Principal in the Long Island, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Since joining the firm in 1995, her practice has been devoted exclusively to employment law and related litigation and the firm’s regulatory practice.

Ms. Chin has litigated matters before local, state and federal administrative agencies and in state and federal courts. Ms. Chin is a frequent speaker on affirmative action and creating lawful diversity programs and spends much of her time counseling employers on issues relating to diversity, EEO, and affirmative action compliance. Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, Ms. Chin was an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County, New York, and in Nassau County, New York.