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Discrimination

New law will prohibit Massachusetts employers from asking applicants about their salary history

Beginning in 2018, Massachusetts becomes the first state to prohibit employers from asking job applicants about their salary history before making a job offer. The newly revised Equal Pay Act is designed to eradicate the pay disparity in jobs that are, for example, traditionally held by women versus those traditionally held by men. One reason for this change is the recognition that a job applicant may have experienced illegal pay disparity at a prior job. That shouldn’t have to dog an employee for an entire career.

Employers will need to revise their application forms to remove those questions. Employers will need to train hiring managers not to ask those questions. Asking for a salary range may also violate the Equal Pay Act. If information about salary history comes out in the job interview process, litigation may result over whether the job applicant volunteered the salary history, or whether the employer unlawfully elicited this information.

Third party recruiters that work for Massachusetts employers must comply with this new provision too. Employers will need to ensure that their recruiters understand that they may not ask prohibited questions.

If such a violation occurs, there is no administrative requirement that a person first bring a claim before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. The individual can proceed right to filing suit in court if practicable.

Pamela A. Smith
Law Office of Pamela A. Smith
233 Needham Street, Suite 540
Newton, MA 02464
617-969-2900

pam@pamsmithlaw.com

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