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Governor Brown Signs AB 168 – Salary History Ban

Posted by Eric Kingsley | Oct 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

Salary History Ban – California Law

On October 12, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 168 into law, effectively banning employers from asking job applicants about salary history.

As we covered in previous posts, the language found in AB 168 has failed to get full endorsement twice before—first by Governor Brown when he vetoed AB 1017 in the fall of October 2015, and then again in 2016 when it was stripped from AB 1676 (fair pay legislation) prior to the Governor's approval later in 2016. However, effective January 1, 2018, California will join Delaware, Puerto Rico, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York City, Philadelphia, and the city of San Francisco in prohibiting employers from inquiring into job applicants' “salary history information”. 

Specifics of AB 168

Assembly Bill 168 prohibits all employers, including the Legislature, the state, and local governments, from seeking salary history information about an applicant for employment and requires an employer to provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant upon reasonable request, among other things.

Specifically, AB 168 stipulates:

  • The addition of section 432.3 to the California Code – section 432.3 prohibit employers from asking about or relying on prior salary information in deciding whether to offer a job and in deciding how much to pay.
  • Section 432.3 does not penalize employers when an applicant “voluntarily and without prompting,” discloses salary history information. [However, according to the California Fair Pay Act (Labor Code § 1197.5(a)(2)) employers may not rely on prior salary alone to justify any disparity in pay.
  • Section 432.3 will apply to “all employers”—both private and public.
  • Requires employers to provide, upon reasonable request, the pay scale for a position to an applicant applying for employment.
  • Section 432.3 becomes effective January 1, 2018.

Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), remarked that AB 168, “gives women the power to determine for themselves where they start negotiating…women negotiating a salary shouldn't have to wrestle an entire history of wage disparity.” “Wage inequality that has spanned generations of women in the workforce,” she said, adding that the law will “ensure that my 9-year-old daughter, and all women, can be confident that their pay will be based on their abilities and not their gender.”

Section 432.3 will also make California the first jurisdiction in the country to require that employers provide applicants with the pay scale for a position, upon “reasonable request.” With this change and those outlined above, California employers are advised to update company recruitment and hiring policies, especially prior to January 1, 2018.  

California Employment Law

Should you have questions California's employment laws, or any wage and hour laws signed by Governor Brown, don't hesitate to contact Kingsley & Kingsley to speak with one of our experienced labor lawyers.

About the Author

Eric Kingsley

Eric B. Kingsley is a 2023 "Best In Law" Award winner and has litigated over 150 class actions. He is also an AV peer rated attorney and a prolific speaker at various seminars on employment law.


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