New law prohibits asking about a job applicant’s salary history

September 3, 2019

As of July 28, 2019, there is a Washington State law that affects all nonprofits with employees. Governor Jay Inslee signed a new law that prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their salary history until after a job offer with a salary or wage has been made. Additionally, employers with 15 or more employees must provide external and internal applicants for jobs with a specific wage or salary upon request. Make sure your nonprofit does not ask applicants about salary history, as it is now illegal.

Why this Law Matters: This law is an important step to closing the gender pay gap. The law does not mention racial disparities specifically in its explanatory language or text. However, certain advocates for the bill believe it is also an important step to bridging the racial pay gap. For an entertaining explanation of why this is an equity issue, read When you base pay on salary history, a unicorn loses its horn.

What this Means: Beginning in late July 2019, it is illegal for employers to ask applicants for their salary history on job applications. Employers may only ask for that information once a job offer—with a salary or wage—has been offered. Applicants may still voluntarily disclose this information during the application or interview process.

The full text can be read here.

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