New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver just signed a bill making it illegal to ask job applicants for their salary history. This law has to do with women’s equality since “employers were permitted to ask applicants about their salary histories perpetuating the wage gap by allowing prospective employers to offer lower salaries to women and minorities than they otherwise would.” Oliver is serving as acting governor while Phil Murphy is vacationing in Israel.
A1094 makes it an unlawful employment practice in New Jersey for any employer to screen a job applicant based on their salary history, including prior wages, salary, commission, benefits or any other current or previous compensation. The law is designed to ensure that employees in the state receive salaries that are commensurate with their skills, qualifications, and experience.
Under the new law, any employer who attempts to ask or obtain applicants salary history will be subject to a civil penalty of no more than $1,000 for a first offense, $5,000 for a second violation and $10,000 for any subsequent violations.
“Employers should be hiring and paying potential employees for the experience and qualifications they have with respect to the demands of the specific position,” said Senator Loretta Weinberg. “Knowing how much they were paid in the past is irrelevant and often times leads to a cycle of pay inequity. By eliminating inquiries of salary history, we can help curb wage discrimination based not only on gender, but also race, age, and other characteristics.”
The new law will take effect in 6 months.