HR Alert

San Francisco Enacts Certain Prohibitions on Employer Use of Salary History

Ordinance Becomes Operative on July 1, 2018

A new San Francisco ordinance prohibits certain employer use of salary history.

Employer Prohibitions
Employers are generally prohibited from:

  • Considering or relying on an applicant's salary history as a factor in determining whether to offer employment to an applicant or what salary to offer an applicant.
  • Inquiring about an applicant's salary history.
  • Refusing to hire, or otherwise disfavoring, injuring, or retaliating against an applicant for not disclosing his or her salary history to the employer.
  • Releasing the salary history of any current or former employee to that person's prospective employer without written authorization from the current or former employee--subject to certain exceptions (section: 3300J.4(d)).

Permissible Actions
The ordinance does not prohibit an applicant from, voluntarily and without prompting, disclosing salary history. An employer may--without inquiring about salary history--engage in discussion with the applicant about the applicant's expectations regarding salary. Click here (section: g) for more information.

Note: If an applicant voluntarily and without prompting discloses salary history to a prospective employer, or provides written authorization (as described above), the ordinance does not prohibit that employer from considering that voluntarily disclosed salary history in determining salary for such applicant or verifying such applicant's salary history. However, salary history by itself must not be used to justify paying any employee of a different sex, race, or ethnicity less than such applicant or prospective employee for doing substantially similar work under similar working conditions, in accordance with California Labor Code section: 1197.5.

Notice Requirements
Employers must post a notice in certain places and must send a copy to each labor union or representative of workers with which the employer has certain agreements. The notice must be posted in English, Spanish, Chinese, and any language spoken by at least 5% of the employees at the workplace, job site, or other location at which it is posted. Click here (section: b) for additional details.

San Francisco is expected to release the notice by July 1, 2018--the date that employers' obligations under the ordinance become operative.

Click here to read the text of the ordinance. The ordinance also contains provisions regarding city contractors (see Chapter 12K).

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