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San Francisco Prohibits Employers From Inquiring About Salary History

Salary History

After two rounds of votes, the Board of Supervisors for the City and County of San Francisco passed the Parity in Pay Ordinance, a mandate that would prevent employers from asking about a job candidate’s salary history. If signed into law by the mayor, the Parity in Pay Ordinance will take effect July 1, 2018, with attendant penalties taking effect January 1, 2019.

Essentially, the ordinance forbids any consideration of current or previous wages in the hiring process. Employers, those with city contracts, and their agents cannot use current or past salary to determine whether to hire a candidate, or what salary to offer them. The ordinance also prohibits disclosing a current or former employee’s salary history without the employee’s permission — unless the salary history is already publicly available.

The ordinance has evolved since it was first introduced in April 2017, with the latest version introducing several key points of clarification.

The ban:

  • Covers all types of employment, including temp, seasonal and commissioned work
  • Reaches beyond city limits to include any job performed on city property or funded under city contract
  • Does not prohibit discussion of salary expectations between employer and candidate
  • Allows employers to consider salary information submitted voluntarily without coercion, so long as the salary information is not used to justify wage gaps

Penalties for violating the Parity in Pay Ordinance range from $50 to $500 per infraction. San Francisco now joins New York City, Philadelphia, Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Puerto Rico in forbidding employers from asking candidates about salary history.

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