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An overview of the Illinois Salary History Ban for employers

Susan Lorenc Ryan Gehbauer October 1, 2019

Effective September 29, 2019, Illinois has amended the Illinois Equal Pay Act of 2003 to prohibit employers from inquiring about an applicant’s current or prior salary, wages, benefits, or other compensation and using this salary history to make employment or compensation decisions (“Salary History Ban”).

What the Illinois Salary History Ban prohibits

Illinois’ Salary History Ban prohibits employers from screening job applicants based on their current or prior wages, salary, benefits, or other compensation. It also bars employers from requesting or requiring that applicants or their current or former employer disclose information about the applicant’s salary history as a condition of being interviewed, considered for employment, offered employment, or offered compensation.

The Salary History Ban also prohibits employers from requiring employees to refrain from disclosing information about their compensation and benefits. Employers, however, may still prohibit human resources employees and supervisors from disclosing the compensation information of other employees without their prior written consent.

What the Illinois Salary History Ban does not prohibit

  1. Providing applicants with information about the wages, benefits, compensation, or salary offered in relation to a position.

  2. Discussing with an applicant his/her expectations with respect to wages, salary, benefits, or other compensation for the position.

  3. Applicants from voluntarily disclosing their current or prior wages, salary, benefits, or other compensation. However, employers may not consider that information when making employment or compensation decisions.

Penalties for non-compliance

Failure to comply with the Salary History Ban may result in legal action, audits and significant financial penalties.

Growing trend of Salary History Bans

With passage of the Salary History Ban, Illinois has joined a growing list of States and localities that have passed similar laws. Currently, thirteen other States (Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington) have enacted similar laws that apply to all employers State-wide.

Additionally, five cities (San Francisco, New York City, Kansas City, Missouri, Cincinnati, and Toledo), three counties in New York (Albany, Suffolk, and Westchester), and Puerto Rico have passed similar salary history bans applying to private employers.

Best practices

If you are uncertain as to the scope or coverage of any of these salary history bans, it is best to avoid making any inquiry about prior compensation. Additionally, if you are in a jurisdiction (or recruit in a jurisdiction) that has one of these salary history bans, it is imperative that you remove any request for salary history from employment applications and ensure that anyone conducting interviews is aware of this prohibition and does not request such information in an interview.

Should you have any questions about these salary history bans and how they may affect your business, please contact your Thompson Coburn attorney.

Susan Lorenc and Ryan Gehbauer are members of Thompson Coburn’s Labor & Employment practice.