Cincinnati Joins Growing Number Of Jurisdictions Banning Salary History Queries

Author:Ms Melissa Dials
Profession:Fisher Phillips LLP

Cincinnati City Council has passed Ordinance No. 0083-2019 barring employers from asking applicants for their salary history. The city becomes the latest of a growing number of jurisdictions to adopt a salary history ban on employers. In addition to Cincinnati, salary history bans exist in the cities of Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Louisville, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco. Several counties have also passed similar bans.

Cincinnati's ordinance, titled "Prohibited Salary History Inquiry and Use," (the Ordinance) prohibits employers from asking about or relying on the prior salary history of prospective employees in setting starting pay. The purpose of this ordinance is to "ensure that Cincinnati residents' rights are protected and that job applicants in Cincinnati are offered employment positions and subsequently compensated based on their job responsibilities and level of experience, rather than on prior work histories, which actions can serve to perpetuate existing discrimination against women in the workforce."

The ordinance will take effect in March 2020 and applies to employers located within the City of Cincinnati that have 15 or more employees located within the city limits.

What Does the Salary History Inquiry and Use Ordinance Prohibit?

Under the Prohibited Salary History Inquiry and Use ordinance, employers cannot:

inquire about an applicant's salary history or request reports or other information to determine or verify salary history; screen job applicants based on their current or prior compensation or their salary history; rely on salary history when deciding to offer employment, when determining salary or other compensation, or when negotiating an employment contract; or refuse to hire, otherwise disfavor, or retaliate against an applicant for not disclosing their salary history. Notwithstanding these prohibitions, an employer may engage in discussions with the applicant about their expectations with respect to salary, benefits, and other compensation. The ordinance defines "applicant" as any person applying for employment to be performed within the geographic boundaries of the City of Cincinnati and whose application will be solicited, received, processed, or considered in the City of Cincinnati. The term "salary history" is defined as current or prior wages, benefits, or other compensation, but does not include any objective measure of productivity such as revenue, sales, or...

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