Maryland's New Ban on Salary History Questions

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, all Maryland employers, regardless of size, will be prohibited from asking a job applicant to provide compensation history. At the end of the 2020 legislative session, the General Assembly amended Maryland’s Equal Pay Act to prohibit questions about salary history as a means of addressing the gender pay gap.

Maryland will join many other states and cities that already ban inquiries into a prospective employee’s compensation.  Below are the key elements of the ban:

The ban includes employers and its agents. The ban is broad and prohibits not only an employer from asking about an applicant’s compensation, but it also its employees, its agents such as recruiters, and the applicant’s current or former employers.

Employers may not use salary history in hiring decisions or setting compensation. The ban prohibits an employer from relying on an applicant’s wage history in screening or considering the applicant for employment or in determining wages, even if the applicant voluntarily discloses this information.

Employers may not retaliate. The ban also prohibits an employer from retaliating against, or refusing to interview or hire, an applicant if the applicant will not provide salary information or requests a wage range for the position.

Employers may confirm salary history to support an offer higher-than-original offer. The employer MAY confirm and rely on compensation disclosed by an applicant to support a compensation package offered higher than an initial offer if the higher wage does not create an unlawful pay differential based on sex or gender identity.

Employers MUST provide a wage range. The ban also requires an employer to provide a wage range for a position if an applicant requests that information.

Employers with offices in states that already ban wage inquiries are in the best position to pivot in their hiring practices.  Other Maryland employers have begun gearing up for the Oct. 1 change in recruiting to ensure they will be in compliance with the new requirements.

Some larger businesses are working with outside vendors to remove or change the compensation questions for their online application process. Others are revising the hiring and related sections of their employee handbooks, refining hiring procedures, re-training management and employees engaged in hiring, and compiling wage ranges for positions.

Employers who have been complying with the wage inquiry ban suggest that businesses start now to change procedures and train staff.

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