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New Law Levels Playing Field for Job Applicants

Traditionally the balance of power in the hiring process has tilted in favor of the employer, and against the applicant. After all the employer holds a position of power during negotiations because the employer has – among other things – the power to hire, knowledge of the position’s pay structure, information about the job applicant pool, and detailed private information about each applicant. Through their employment applications, employers frequently obtain information about every applicant’s educational history, job history, and payment history. Many of them even go so far as to run a full background check. Employers then use this information to their advantage in the hiring process, by – among other things – using an applicant’s salary history to make the lowest offer that the applicant is likely to accept. For example, an employer who knows that an employee was making $17.00 per hour at her last job, is likely to extend a job offer to that applicant which pays less than $20.00 per hour, even though the employer would otherwise be willing to pay as much as $25.00 per hour.

All that is about to change for job applicants in California! A new Bill which was signed into law on October 12, 2017, and becomes effective on January 1, 2018, is set to change all of that and to balance the playing field. Once the new law takes effect, any employer, regardless of how big they are, will no longer be permitted to ask any job applicant about his or her salary history, including information regarding compensation and benefits. The prohibition applies equally to both written inquiries (i.e. job application), and oral ones (i.e. during an interview).

What is more, as of January 1, 2018, employers will be required to provide, upon request, a pay scale for the position for which the applicant is applying. Thus, not only will employers be prohibited from asking for the applicant’s salary history, but they will also be required to provide a scale of what the job pays!

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is not legal advice. The Akopyan Law Firm does not provide legal advice unless and until it is formally retained, and an attorney-client contract is signed. Each case is unique. The laws may or may not apply to your particular situation. This should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions may have laws and regulations that differ substantially from one another. The Akopyan Law Firm does not provide legal services or practice law outside of the State of California. You should always consult an attorney in your jurisdiction regarding any specific legal issue.

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