States and cities continue to enact new restrictions on the information employers can obtain when conducting pre-employment background screening, particularly with regard to applicant salary and credit histories.

Salary History Checks in Philadelphia

Effective May 23, 2017, a new City of Philadelphia (PA) ordinance makes it unlawful for an employer to inquire about an applicant’s wage history or require disclosure of that history as a condition of granting an interview or extending a job offer. Under the ordinance, employers are also barred from using applicant wage histories (including fringe benefits) in determining wages to be paid in the new position, unless the applicant willingly reveals that information. Employers who are authorized by federal, state, or local law to request wage histories from applicants are exempted from this ordinance.

Salary History Checks in New York City

In April, the New York City Council approved a bill that prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their salary history or relying on a salary history (including benefits) to determine salary at any new position offered to them. The law takes effect on October 31, 2017. Under the law, employers may verify salary histories if they are provided voluntarily, and are allowed to ask applicants about their salary expectations. Ordinance exemption is granted, if so authorized for certain positions under existing federal, state, or local law.

Salary History Checks in Massachusetts

Last year, the State of Massachusetts adopted a law that restricts employers from asking or seeking the wage or salary history of a job applicant or require that prior wage and salary history meets certain criteria. The law does not apply if job applicants volunteer the wage or salary information, in which case the employer is permitted to verify the information provided.

Credit History in Washington D.C.

In February, the District of Columbia Council added language to the Human Rights Act of 1977 forbidding employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations from directly or indirectly inquiring into the credit information of a prospective or current employee. The bill empowers the District’s Office of Human Rights to investigate any reported violations of the law and can assess incremental fines as high as $5,000 for a third offense.

Pending Legislation

The following bills are under consideration in various state legislatures:

  • New York Senate Bill S5653, the Credit Privacy in Employment Act, currently in Senate Committee, would prohibit the use of consumer credit reports in employment determinations, including in decisions to hire, terminate, promote, discipline, compensate, or set the terms of employment.
  • In the Texas Legislature, HB 317 is out of Committee and up for consideration by the full House of Representatives. The bill would prohibit an employer from requiring an employee or applicant to consent to a request for a credit report, unless the employer is a financial institution, is required by law to do so, or has a bona fide employment purpose for requesting it.
  • The Oregon House of Representatives is considering Senate amendments to HB 2005, relating to pay equity, would make it unlawful to screen job applicants, or make hiring decisions, based on salary history.
  • Rhode Island H 6111, introduced in April and currently under legislative consideration, would make it illegal for any prospective employer to inquire about a job applicant’s wage or salary history before an officer or employment with compensation has been negotiated and made to the prospective employee, unless the applicant has voluntarily disclosed the information.
  • Likewise, in the State of Washington, Senate Bill 5555 would make it unlawful for an employer to seek or require wage/salary information in the pre-employment process. Confirmation of an applicant’s salary history can be made only if the applicant voluntarily discloses it or after an offer of employment has already been negotiated.
  • California’s Assembly Bill AB-168, amended in May, state, “ An employer shall not, orally or in writing, personally or through an agent, seek salary history information, including compensation and benefits, about an applicant for employment,” except as disclosable under federal of state law.

Your Cooperation Is Appreciated!

As your background screening partner and a credit reporting agency under FCRA, the TruView team is diligent in our efforts to ensure legally compliant pre-employment and employment screens. We appreciate your efforts is assisting us toward this goal, as well. Thank you!