Effective July 19, 2017, San Francisco became the first city in California to ban employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. This is the latest in a nationwide movement to promote gender pay equality. As cited in the San Francisco Ordinance, census data shows that women in San Francisco are paid 84 cents for every dollar a man makes, and women of color are paid even less. The ban seeks to stop the “problematic practice” of relying on past salaries to set new employees’ pay rates, which perpetuates the historic gender pay gap.

Dubbed the “Parity in Pay Ordinance,” the San Francisco law applies to all employers doing business in the City of San Francisco and to all employees applying for positions that will be performed in the City.

What does this mean for you? Employers in San Francisco may not:

  • Ask about an applicant’s salary history;

  • Consider an applicant’s salary history in determining a salary offer, even if the applicant voluntarily discloses his/her salary history;

  • Refuse to hire or otherwise retaliate against an applicant for not disclosing salary history;

  • Release the salary history of any current or former employee without written authorization from the employee.

San Francisco’s ban comes as the California legislature looks to impose a similar ban statewide. The State Assembly passed a proposed amendment (AB168) that is currently awaiting State Senate approval. New York City and the State of Massachusetts have already enacted similar bans, and efforts are underway in Philadelphia.

For more legal updates, check out our update for September 2017!

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