Pay Equity Laws

What is pay equity?

Pay equity is a means of eliminating gender and ethnic discrimination in the wage-setting system. In this context, the criteria which employers use to determine wages must be gender- and ethnicity-neutral.

What is pay equity legislation?

The overarching purpose of pay equity legislation is to prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of gender or ethnicity in the payment of wages. To assist candidates and clients alike throughout the hiring process, we’ve compiled relevant information associated with pay equity legislation enacted around the United States. This webpage includes updated information, including:

  • Bill names
  • Effective start dates
  • Violations and penalties
  • Exceptions related to voluntary disclosure and interview guidelines

If a state or territory is not included in the dropdown below, there is no pending legislation.

New York

Location

Albany

Bill

Local Law No. P for 2016

Effective

12/17/2017

Violations

Employers of at least four employees may not seek pay history of a candidate from any current or former employer.

Penalties

Compensatory damages, reinstatement (with or without back pay) and oversight by Albany Commission on Human Rights. Potential private right of action.

Voluntary Disclosure

This is not presently addressed.

Interview Guidelines

(not addressed)

Location

New York City

Bill

Intro. 1253

Effective

10/31/2017

Violations

Seek pay history of a candidate, including wages, benefits and other compensation; search for publicly available records to obtain compensation history; or rely on salary history during any stage of the hiring process unless disclosed willingly

Penalties

Salary inquiries – up to $125,000 for civil penalties; up to $250,000 for “intentional malicious violations”.

Voluntary Disclosure

Employers may rely on information gathered through voluntary disclosure. This is not a violation.

Interview Guidelines

Employers may engage candidates in discussions about salary, benefits and other compensation expectations without violating the law.

Location

Statewide

Bill

2019-6549

Effective

1/6/2020

Violations

Employers may not rely on applicant’s compensation history in determining whether to hire an applicant, or wages or salary for that individual; seek or require pay history as condition of offer of employment, or of employment or promotion; seek or require pay history from a current or former employer; retaliate based on pay history; retaliate because of refusal to provide pay history.

Penalties

An applicant, or a current or former employee, may bring a civil action for damages sustained as a result of the violation. The court may award injunctive relief and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

Voluntary Disclosure

Not a violation.

Interview Guidelines

(not addressed)

Location

Suffolk County, New York

Bill

“RISE” Act

Effective

6/30/2019

Violations

May not inquire about applicant’s compensation history, seek compensation history of a candidate from any publicly available record search, or rely on compensation history to determine wages.

Penalties

Civil penalty of $5,000 for the first offense, $10,000 for the second offense, and $20,000 for the third offense; diversity training.

Voluntary Disclosure

This is not presently addressed. Not a violation if done to comply with federal, state, or local laws which mandate salary disclosures for employment purposes.

Interview Guidelines

Not presently addressed.

Location

Westchester County, New York

Bill

Wage History Anti-Discrimination Law

Effective

7/9/2018

Violations

Employers of at least four employees may not seek pay history of a candidate from any current or former employer.

Penalties

Reinstatement, back pay, compensatory damages, costs, reasonable attorney’s fees, punitive damages, oversight by Westchester County Human Rights Commission. Potential private right of action.

Voluntary Disclosure

Not a violation to rely on a voluntary disclosure to set compensation.

Interview Guidelines

(not addressed)

Louisiana

Location

New Orleans

Bill

MJL17-01

Effective

1/25/2017

Violations

Seek pay history of candidates; or question candidates about salary history during the application process

Penalties

There are no penalties at this time.

Voluntary Disclosure

This is not presently addressed.

Interview Guidelines

(not addressed)

North Carolina

Location

No pending legislation at this time for your selected state or territory

Maine

Location

Statewide

Bill

Legislative Document 278

Effective

10/17/2019

Violations

Employers may not use or inquire about compensation history of an applicant, either directly from the applicant or from a current or former employee, before offer with all terms of compensation has been “negotiated and made to the prospective employee”. It is not a violation to inquire about compensation history if the employer is required to do so pursuant to any federal or state law that specifically requires compensation history for employment purposes.

Penalties

$100-$500 per violation, BUT a single violation is also evidence of unlawful employment discrimination, which could support a claim to the Maine Human Rights Commission.

Voluntary Disclosure

Not addressed; likely violation to rely on unprompted voluntary disclosure.

Interview Guidelines

(not addressed)

Maryland

Location

Statewide

Bill

HB 123

Effective

10/01/2020

Violations

Employers must provide a wage range for the position upon inquiry. They cannot retaliate because an applicant did not provide wage history or requested the wage range. It is also a violation for employers to rely on wage history in screening, determining wages or seek wage history orally, in writing or through current/former employer.

Penalties

Letter compelling compliance for first violation; civil penalty up to $300 for each applicant for whom employer is not in compliance for second violation; civil penalty up to $600 for each applicant for whom employer is not in compliance for each subsequent violation.

Voluntary Disclosure

Not a violation, but employer still may not rely on this information.

Interview Guidelines

(not addressed)

Massachusetts

Location

Statewide

Bill

2017 Chapter 177

Effective

7/1/2018

Violations

Seek a candidate’s salary history; condition an interview or consideration of an offer on the disclosure of salary history

Penalties

Salary inquiries and unfair pay – unpaid wages and interest, plus an equal amount of those wages and interest as liquidated damages; attorney fees.

Voluntary Disclosure

This is not presently addressed.

Interview Guidelines

(not addressed)

Ohio

Location

Cincinnati

Bill

Ordinance No. 83-2019

Effective

3/13/2020

Violations

Employers with 15+ employees may not inquire about an applicant’s salary history, screen job applicants based on their current compensation or salary histories, rely on an applicant’s salary history in deciding whether to offer employment or in determining compensation during the hiring process, including the negotiation of the employment contract. Employers also may not refuse to hire or otherwise disfavor, injure, or retaliate against applicant for not disclosing salary or refuse pay scale upon reasonable request from applicant who has conditional offer of employment.

Penalties

Compensatory damages, reasonable attorney’s fees, costs of the action, and such other legal and equitable relief.

Voluntary Disclosure

Not a violation.

Interview Guidelines

May discuss a candidate’s compensation expectations with respect to salary, benefits and other forms of compensation.

Location

Toledo

Bill

O-173-19

Effective

6/25/2020

Violations

Employers with 15+ employees may not inquire about an applicant’s salary history, screen job applicants based on their current compensation or salary histories, rely on an applicant’s salary history in deciding whether to offer employment or in determining compensation during the hiring process, including the negotiation of the employment contract. Employers also may not refuse to hire or otherwise disfavor, injure, or retaliate against applicant for not disclosing salary or refuse pay scale upon reasonable request from applicant who has conditional offer of employment.

Penalties

Compensatory damages, reasonable attorney’s fees, costs of the action, and such other legal and equitable relief.

Voluntary Disclosure

Not a violation.

Interview Guidelines

May discuss a candidate’s compensation expectations with respect to salary, benefits and other forms of compensation.

Missouri

Location

Kansas City

Bill

Ordinance No. 190380

Effective

10/31/2019

Violations

Employers with six or more employees may not inquire about an applicant’s salary history; screen job applicants based on their current compensation or salary histories, including any requirement that prior compensation or salary history satisfy minimum or maximum criteria; rely on an applicant’s salary history in deciding whether to offer employment, or in determining compensation during the hiring process, including the negotiation of the employment contract; refuse to hire or otherwise disfavor, injure, or retaliate against applicant for not disclosing salary.

Penalties

Fine of up to $500.00, imprisonment of up to 180 days, or a combination thereof.

Voluntary Disclosure

Not a violation.

Interview Guidelines

(not addressed)

Nevada

Location

Statewide

Bill

NV LEGIS 293

Effective

10/1/2021

Violations

Seek compensation history from applicant; rely on compensation history to determine offer or rate of pay; retaliate; not providing compensation rate to applicant after completing interview or to current employee seeking promotion / transfer if asked.

Penalties

Not more than $5,000 administrative penalty for each violation; costs and attorneys’ fees; civil remedies available under Title VII.

Voluntary Disclosure

Not addressed but employer still may not rely on this information.

Interview Guidelines

Not addressed

Pennsylvania

Location

Philadelphia

Bill

No. 160840

Effective

5/23/2017…Enforcement begins 9/1/2020

Violations

Seek pay history of a candidate, including earnings, commissions and fringe benefits; set an interview to contract candidate’s nondisclosure of salary history; or rely on salary history during any stage of the hiring process unless disclosed willingly

Penalties

Salary inquiries – Civil penalties up to $2,000 incurred for each violation. Repeated violations will lead to imprisonment for 90 days.

Voluntary Disclosure

Employers may rely on information gathered via voluntary disclosure. This is not a violation.

Interview Guidelines

Employers may engage candidates in discussions about salary, benefits and other compensation expectations without violating the law. FAQ

New Jersey

Location

Statewide

Bill

A1094

Effective

1/1/2020

Violations

Employers may not screen an applicant based on applicant’s compensation history; require applicant’s compensation to satisfy any criteria; consider or retain publicly available compensation history.

Penalties

Civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second violation, and $10,000 for each subsequent violation; back pay; treble damages; costs and attorneys’ fees.

Voluntary Disclosure

Not a violation. Applicant may provide pay history to employment agency, but agency cannot report history without written consent.

Interview Guidelines

(not addressed)

Puerto Rico

Location

Territorywide

Bill

Act No. 16

Effective

3/8/2017

Violations

Seek pay history of candidates; or prevent employers from prohibiting discussions about salaries among employees or applicants with certain exceptions for human resources, managerial, and supervisory personnel

Penalties

Salary inquiries – Companies which retaliate against employees who address pay inequality will face double damages. Penalties will not take effect until March 8, 2018.

Voluntary Disclosure

Employers may rely on information gathered through voluntary disclosure. It is not a violation if a salary was already negotiated with a candidate and an offer letter was set.

Interview Guidelines

Employers may engage candidates in discussions about salary expectations without violating the law.

Oregon

Location

Statewide

Bill

HB 2005

Effective

10/6/2017

Violations

Seek pay history of a candidate from applicant or former or current employer; or screen compensation history of an applicant and determine salary offer based on compensation history

Penalties

Salary inquiries and unfair pay – punitive damages and attorney’s fees

Voluntary Disclosure

Employers may rely on salary information gathered through voluntary disclosure but cannot pressure candidates for it.

Interview Guidelines

(not addressed)

Rhode Island

Location

Statewide

Bill

S 0270

Effective

1/1/2023

Violations

Seek pay history of applicant; rely on pay history to screen applicants or determine salary offer; require prior wages to satisfy certain criteria; not provide wage range for position upon applicant request; retaliation

Penalties

Compensatory damages, special damages not to exceed $10,000; equitable relief; attorney’s fees and costs; up to $1,000 for first violation, up to $2,500 for second violation, up to $5,000 for subsequent violations

Voluntary Disclosure

Not a violation; may be used to support higher salary than originally offered

Interview Guidelines

Not addressed

Vermont

Location

Statewide

Bill

H.294

Effective

07/01/2018

Violations

Inquire about or seek information regarding an applicant’s compensation history from the applicant or that applicant’s employer(s); require that an applicant’s past compensation satisfy certain criteria; rely on applicant’s compensation history for interviewing

Penalties

Injunction; civil penalty up to $10,000 per violation; back pay; costs; compensatory damages; punitive damages; reinstatement; attorney fees

Voluntary Disclosure

Not a violation

Interview Guidelines

Employers may confirm compensation history after an offer has been extended with terms of compensation

Alabama

Location

Statewide

Bill

HB 225

Effective

10/1/2019

Violations

Employers may not refuse to interview, hire, promote, or employ an applicant, or retaliate against applicant, because applicant does not provide compensation history.

Penalties

Damages equal to the wages, and interest thereon, of which the employee is deprived by reason of the violation.

Voluntary Disclosure

This is not presently addressed.

Interview Guidelines

(not addressed)

Washington

Location

Statewide

Bill

House Bill 1696

Effective

7/28/2019

Violations

Employers may not rely seek compensation history; require compensation history meet certain criteria. For employers with 15+ employees: fail to provide minimum salary after initial offer upon request of applicant; fail to provide compensation range after transfer offer upon request of employee, or minimum salary if no range exists.

Penalties

Actual damages; statutory damages equal to actual damages or $5000, whichever greater; interest; costs; other relief; reinstatement. Civil penalty up to $500 for first violation; up to $1000 or 10% of damages, whichever greater, for repeat.

Voluntary Disclosure

Employer may confirm compensation history if voluntarily disclosed.

Interview Guidelines

(not addressed)

California

Location

San Francisco

Bill

No. 170350

Effective

7/1/2018

Violations

Seek pay history of a candidate. Pay history does not include revenue, sales or other production reports.

Penalties

Warning and notice to correct for first violation; $100 for second violation; up to $200 for third violation; up to $500 for each subsequent violation; legal and equitable relief.

Voluntary Disclosure

Employers may rely on information gathered via voluntary disclosure. This is not a violation.

Interview Guidelines

Employers may engage candidates in discussions about salary, benefits and other compensation expectations without violating the law.

Location

Statewide

Bill

AB 168

Effective

1/1/2018

Violations

Seek a candidate’s salary history including compensation and benefits

Penalties

Salary inquiries – unpaid wages and interest, plus an equal amount as liquidated damages and attorney fees.

Voluntary Disclosure

This is not presently addressed.

Interview Guidelines

(not addressed)

Colorado

Location

Statewide

Bill

Senate Bill 19-085

Effective

1/1/2020

Violations

Employers may not rely on compensation history to justify a disparity in current compensation; seek compensation history; rely on compensation history to determine compensation; discriminate or retaliate for failing to disclose salary history; retaliate against employee assisting in enforcing the act; retaliate against employee who inquires about or discloses compensation; prohibit employee from disclosing compensation; fail to disclose salary range.

Penalties

Back pay; damages equal to difference between amount paid and amount employee would have received plus liquidated damages; legal and equitable relief; costs and attorneys’ fees.

Voluntary Disclosure

Not addressed; likely violation to rely on unprompted voluntary disclosure.

Interview Guidelines

(not addressed)

Connecticut

Location

Statewide

Bill

Public Act No. 18-8

Effective

01/01/2019

Violations

Inquire or direct a third party to inquire about an applicant’s compensation history

Penalties

Compensatory damages; attorney’s fees; costs; punitive damages

Voluntary Disclosure

Not a violation

Interview Guidelines

Employer may inquire about compensation structure but not the value of compensation elements

Delaware

Location

Statewide

Bill

HB 1

Effective

12/14/2017

Violations

Seek pay history of a candidate from applicant or former or current employer, including benefits and other compensation.

Penalties

Salary inquiries – civil penalty from $1,000 to $5,000 for first offense; $5,000 to $10,000 for each additional violation.

Voluntary Disclosure

Employers may not rely on information, even if it is voluntarily disclosed, until employment offers have been made and accepted.

Interview Guidelines

(not addressed)

Hawaii

Location

Statewide

Bill

2017 SB No. 2351

Effective

01/01/2019

Violations

Inquire about compensation history; rely on compensation history in negotiation of employment contract unless applicant voluntarily discloses compensation history; retaliate

Penalties

Injunction; back pay; costs and attorney fees

Voluntary Disclosure

Not a violation

Interview Guidelines

Not presently addressed

Illinois

Location

Statewide

Bill

Public Act 101-0177

Effective

10/29/2019

Violations

Employers may not screen applicants based on salary history; require salary history to meet a minimum or maximum criterion; seek or require pay history.

Penalties

Back pay and interest; compensatory damages; punitive damages; injunctive relief; costs and attorneys’ fees; up to $10,000; civil penalties ranging from $500 to $5000 for each violation.

Voluntary Disclosure

Not a violation, but the employer may not rely on the disclosure.

Interview Guidelines

(not addressed)