Effective January 25, 2020, private employers in New Jersey will be prohibited from requiring applicants to provide wage and salary history in connection with an offer of employment. Specifically, the new law makes it unlawful for any private employer to screen a job applicant based on the applicant’s salary history (including an applicant’s prior wages and/or salary) or require the applicant’s salary history to satisfy any minimum or maximum criteria for an offer of employment.
The new law does, however, contain several exceptions. For instance, an employer may consider a potential employee’s salary history if the employee voluntarily, without prompting by the employer, provides the employer with such salary history. Following an offer of employment, an employer may ask an applicant to provide written authorization to confirm salary history where the offer includes an explanation of the compensation package. When conducting a background check on an applicant to verify non-salary related information, the employer must specify that salary history information should not be disclosed. If such information is inadvertently disclosed to the prospective employer, the employer must not retain or consider any such information in determining whether to hire the applicant.
The law does not apply to the following:
- internal transfers or promotions within an employee's current company;
- actions taken by an employer in connection with any federal law or regulation that requires the disclosure of salary history;
- inquiries regarding an applicant’s prior work experience in connection with incentive and commission plans where the position in question involves an incentive for commission component.
What happens if an employer violates the law?
An employer who violates the law shall be liable for a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $1000 for the first violation, $5000 for the second violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation. In addition, an aggrieved applicant may seek damages including, but not limited to, reimbursement of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs of suit.
To learn more about New Jersey’s ban on pre-employment salary history inquiries, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (973) 696-8391, ext. 222.