New Jersey employers banned from asking for salary history

Employers will soon be banned from asking about your salary history in job interviews by Samantha Marcus (

asks, “How much are you making now?”

Say too much and you may never get past the initial screening. Say too little and you could be boxed into a lower wage.

No more.

New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver just signed a bill making it illegal to ask job applicants for their salary history, information that experts say perpetuates wage discrimination against women and minorities. Oliver is serving as acting governor while Phil Murphy is vacationing overseas.

The new law, which takes effect in six months, prohibits employers from requesting applicants’ salary, commission or benefits history during the hiring process. If you want to volunteer the information, you can, but it will be illegal for the employer to hold it against you if you don’t.

This is probably the most exciting news I've read this year. I've always felt awkward answering these questions and even had a few people ask me to justify my ask.

“Employers should be hiring and paying potential employees for the experience and qualifications they have with respect to the demands of the specific position,” New Jersey Sen. Loretta Weinberg said of that state's new law. “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.” Philadelphia Voice

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  • Michael S Wills
    27th July 2019 at 5:52 AM

    I have experienced questions about "salary expectations." Are these restricted by this new law, as well?

    • Khürt Williams
      27th July 2019 at 7:25 AM

      A potential employer can ask about your salary expectations. That’s reasonable. If you think the new job is worth $$$, ask for $$$. What they can’t do is ask your current salary, you say $$ and they offer your $$+20%. But even before this law, I have been in a habit of hanging up on recruiters or HR who ask.

  • khurtwilliams
    26th July 2019 at 9:16 AM

    @mangochutney it's been in practice since before I started working (25 years). It's either done in a pre-screening “interview” with HR or a recruiter. Whenever I have refused to provide it, I was told I would be removed from consideration. I've only ever worked for fortune 500 companies.

  • mangochutney
    26th July 2019 at 7:25 AM

    @khurtwilliams Wait how was this legal in the first place?

    • Khürt Williams
      26th July 2019 at 9:25 AM

      @mangochutney it's been in practice since I started working 25 years ago. In my experience, the question has been asked in a pre-screening “interview” with HR or a recruiter. On several occasion when I have refused to provide salary history, I was told I would be removed from consideration. I've only ever worked for fortune 500 companies so I can only surmise it's a common practice.

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