EFFECTIVE 9.29.2019

A new law will amend the Equal Pay Act of 2003 and ban salary history questions for job applicants starting on September 29, 2019. Illinois is now one of 17 states to ban salary history questions.

The Illinois Equal Pay Act now prohibits employers from:

  • Using wage or salary histories to screen job applicants.
  • Requesting or requiring job applicants to disclose prior wages or salary in order to be interviewed or as a condition for continued consideration in the hiring process. (An employer is not considered in violation if a job applicant voluntarily discloses her prior compensation.)
  • Obtaining salary, benefits or any other compensation from an applicant’s current or former employers (unless the job applicant’s wage or salary history is a matter of public record).
  • Requiring an applicant or employee to sign a contract that would prohibit the individual from disclosing or discussing information about his or her wages, salary, benefits, or other compensation.

What to do to be ready for the new law:

  1. Check employee handbooks or manuals sections regarding compensation. Make sure they do not prohibit employees from discussing their wages with another employee.
  2. Review job applications to make sure you do not request salary history.
  3. Advertising should not include a request for salary history.
  4. Interview questions should no longer include discussion of the potential employee’s current or past salary.
  5. Employers should train all employees who participate in the hiring process.

The Employer Penalties for Violations

  • Candidates/employees may recover lost wages, compensatory damages, special damages (not to exceed $10,000), punitive damages and injunctive relief.
  • Possible civil penalties that range from $500 for a first offense to $5,000 for a third or subsequent offense for each individual employee affected.

The law goes into effect on September 29th which means that now is the time to ensure compliance.

Contact the Employment Law team at B&D if you have questions about this amendment to the Equal Pay Act of 2003 or other employment related issues.