On July 31, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed into law House Bill 834, effectively amending the Equal Pay Act of 2003 and banning employers from requiring job applicants to disclose their salary history.The new law prohibits employers from requiring that an applicant’s prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria, requesting information about prior wages or salary as part of the application process, or asking questions related to prior benefits or other compensation received.
While the new law prohibits employers from requesting prior salary information, it does allow the applicant to disclose their salary and compensation history if they wish. However, employers cannot use an individual’s prior salary as a definitive factor in determining the employee’s future salary. If an employer violates the act, an applicant can bring a civil action within five years seeking to recover damages, fees, and costs. Further, the employer may be subject to civil penalties up to $5,000.00 for each violation.
The goal of this law is to address continued wage discrimination. Recent studies show that on average, women earn only 79 cents for every dollar earned by a man. The practice of requiring applicants to disclose prior salary information perpetuates this inequality as women, who earn less then men on average, are then offered lower wages at future employers based on their previous lower wage. This law seeks to break this discriminatory wage cycle.
The law takes effect on September 29, 2019, giving employers several weeks to revise applications and their past hiring practices. For more information regarding this law or other matters, contact Sherer Law Offices or call us at (618) 692-6656.
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