New Jersey Bars State Agencies from Seeking Applicants’ Wage Histories
In his first official act upon taking office, newly elected Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order barring state agencies from asking job applicants about wage history. Former Governor Chris Christie previously vetoed legislation that would have prohibited employers from requesting salary history information from prospective employees.
Effective February 1, 2018, state agencies are prohibited from asking a job applicant for past wage history unless or until a conditional offer of employment, including an explanation of the overall compensation package, has been extended. State agencies also are forbidden from investigating or researching prior salaries of applicants. An agency may request or verify current or previous compensation information prior to a conditional job offer only if an applicant volunteers such information or if verification is required by federal, state or local law. An agency that obtained salary history information prior to the effective date of the Executive Order is prohibited from using that information in any employment decision unless required to do so by law or collective bargaining agreement.
Upon signing the law, Governor Murphy pledged to sign any legislation banning the practice statewide and made clear his commitment toward equal pay for women in New Jersey, “Here and now we begin the process of bulldozing the roadblocks that have kept women from being paid fairly, that have kept many women of color from fulfilling their dreams of entering the middle class, and that have allowed our wage gap to persist.”
New Jersey is the latest in a growing list of states and local governments to prohibit pre-employment inquiries into salary history.