Governor Pritzker signed a new law on July 31, 2019, that bans Illinois employers from asking job applicants about salary and wage history. It also prohibits using prior salary as a criterion in hiring or compensation decisions. The new law goes into effect on Monday, September 30, 2019.
As of September 30, it will be a violation of the Illinois Equal Pay Act to:
(1) Screen job applicants based on their current or prior wages or salary histories, including benefits or other compensation, by requiring that the wage or salary history of an applicant satisfy minimum or maximum criteria;
(2) Request or require a wage or salary history as a condition of being considered for employment, as a condition of being interviewed, as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment, as a condition of an offer of employment or an offer of compensation; or
(3) Request or require that an applicant disclose wage or salary history as a condition of employment.
The new law expands the protections for employees who disclose their compensation information to others. The existing law bars employers from taking action against employees for “inquiring about, disclosing, comparing or otherwise discussing the employee’s wages or the wages of any other employee…” The new law now prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign contracts that “would prohibit the employee from disclosing or discussing information about the employee’s wages, salary, benefits, or other compensation.”
The new law also increases potential liability under the Equal Pay Act by now allowing special damages of up to $10,000, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief.
What should employers do to comply?
Employers should immediately review all job applications (including job applications already posted as well as internet-based job questionnaires) and eliminate any and all questions regarding prior salary, wages, benefits and/or compensation. Instead, employers should engage in discussion regarding the applicant’s salary and benefits expectations.
Employers should consider posting the salary range and benefits applicable to the position.
Employers should ensure that anyone involved in the hiring process – especially interviewers – are trained on the new law’s requirements.
Contact Barbara Erickson, Jeff Goelitz, or Tony Loizzi to ensure your recruiting process complies with the Equal Pay Act and other fair employment practice laws.