A STEP CLOSER TO PAY EQUITY BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN – Inquiry into Pay History now Prohibited
We have previously addressed the issue of pay equity in a blog last year entitled “Connecticut Close to Passing New Pay Equity Law.” In that blog, it was noted that paying women less than men, or men less than women, for similar work was already illegal in Connecticut, and looked at what the proposed bill was looking to accomplish by closing the gap of pay inequity between men and women. When that blog was written last year, it was also noted that absent from that bill was a provision that prohibited employers from asking about the salary of prospective employees.
Fast forward one year and a new law passed in Connecticut that specifically prohibits employers from asking about an employer’s wage and salary history during the interview process. The pay equity law was just signed into law on May 22, 2018, and will take effect October 1, 2018, with the stated purpose of the law being to strengthen provisions of the law concerning pay equity and fairness. Specifically, the new law prohibits an employer from inquiring or directing a third party to inquire about a prospective employee’s wage and salary history before an offer of employment that includes wages has been accepted, unless the prospective employee voluntarily discloses this information. This law does not prohibit an employer from inquiring about compensation structure, so long as the employer does not inquire about the value of the elements of such compensation structure, however, the employer is permitted to inquire about the value of stocks and equity. The prospective employee may certainly chose to voluntarily disclose wage or salary history should he/she wish to use pay history to negotiate a higher pay.
The hope in passing this law is that this will bring men and women closer to pay equity if an employer is prohibited from inquiring about salary from previous positions. If women were initially underpaid in their prior positions, then presumably that trend would continue so long as employers were able to inquire about their past salary. Connecticut is only the fifth state to pass such a law prohibiting employers from asking prospective employees about their salary or pay history, and none of the other pay equity laws have been in effect long enough to know if they will, in fact, work toward closing the gap in pay inequality between men and women. The hope is that this law will finally bring pay equity between men and women, but only time will tell for certain!!