Employers can’t ask job applicants about salary history under new Massachusetts law

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has signed into law an updated equal-pay measure that bans employers from asking job applicants about their current and previous pay.

The “groundbreaking” law makes Massachusetts the first state to ban questions about salary history before job offers are made, the New York Times DealBook blog reports. Applicants can voluntarily disclose their past salary, however.

The bipartisan law, which requires equal pay for comparable work, provides a more comprehensive definition of comparable work than a previous equal-pay law, Forbes and Masslive.com report. The law also bars employers from retaliating against workers who discuss salaries.

The law takes effect at the beginning of 2018.

Massachusetts passed an equal pay law in 1945 that made it the first state to require comparable pay for comparable work, according to Masslive.com. But the state’s top court in 1998 ruled against female cafeteria workers who sued because they made less money than male custodians. The court found the positions were not comparable.

Federal lawmakers passed an equal pay law in 1963. According to the Times, “Violations are hard to prove, and wage gaps persist in nearly every industry.” Baker, a Republican, signed the Massachusetts measure into law Monday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *