Washington State will have new restrictions on what employers can ask applicants regarding their wage and salary history starting July 28, 2019. The new legislation will prohibit employers from seeking wage or salary history from job applicants in the state. Additionally, employers will not be able to require that an applicant’s prior salary history meet certain criteria. There are some limited exceptions to this general rule. First, employer can confirm an applicant’s wage or salary if the applicant has voluntarily disclosed that history. Second, the employer can confirm the information after having negotiated and made an employment offer.

The law gives disclosure rights to an applicant as well. Namely, the applicant can ask the employer for minimum wage or salary information for the position in which the applicant. This is true after the employer has made an offer to the applicant, and if the employer has 15 or more employees.

The passage of this legislation reflects the continued trend to eliminate any wage gap between men and women by prohibiting the use of salary history to determine an employee’s future salary. Over 20 states and local municipalities have enacted salary history inquiry bans in some capacity over the past couple of years.

Putting it Into practice: Employers hiring in Washington should take care to review their hiring practices generally, to ensure compliance with these new requirements.