North Carolina Bans Use of Salary History in State Government Hiring

Salary History

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On Equal Pay Day held on April 2, 2019, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order No. 93 directing state government agencies to ban the use of salary history in the hiring process to address the gender pay gap between men and woman, according to a news release on the Governor’s website.

“Women have strengthened our state and our country for generations, but an unfair wage gap continues to hurt women workers—especially women of color,” Governor Cooper stated. “This Equal Pay Day, my administration is taking action to address the gender pay gap among state workers.”

Executive Order No. 93 – which takes effect immediately – prohibits state agencies under the purview of the Governor’s Office from requesting salary history from job applicants and directs them to avoid relying on previously obtained salary history information to determine an applicant’s salary.

The Executive Order also directs the North Carolina Office of State Human Resources (OSHR) to remove salary history fields from state employment applications. As state employee salary history is a public record, OSHR will work to ensure previous salary information is not used in a discriminatory way.

Women in North Carolina continue to earn less money than men, as median earnings for men were $45,000 while women in the state earned just $36,400, putting women’s pay in North Carolina at 32nd in the nation with the wage gap being even wider for women of color, according to a fact sheet.

With women historically earning less on average than men, requiring job applicants to report salary history can perpetuate gender pay inequities. Banning the use of salary history during the hiring process can help close the gender pay gap for women and help families become more economically secure.

Equal Pay Day is a symbolic day dedicated to raising awareness about the gender pay gap in the United States that is held in April in order to symbolize how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. The exact date for Equal Pay Day differs from year to year.

Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show women earned 80 percent of what men earned in 2015 and this gender pay gap has narrowed by less than one-half a penny per year in the U.S. since the Equal Pay Act (EPA) was passed by Congress in 1963, according to the National Committee on Pay Equity.

Laws involving salary history bans also exist in states such as California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan (which prohibits salary history bans in state), New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wisconsin (where local governments may not ban salary history).

Laws involving salary history bans also exist in states such as: California; Connecticut; Delaware; Hawaii; Illinois; Massachusetts; Michigan (which prohibits salary history bans in state); New Jersey; New York; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Vermont; and Wisconsin (where local governments may not ban salary history).

Bans of salary history have been passed in the cities of Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Cincinnati, Ohio, Kansas City, Missouri; Louisville, Kentucky; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York City, New York;  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and San Francisco, California.

Salary history bans will increase as the equal pay movement spreads to narrow the gender wage gap between men and women and this trend was chosen by leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) as one of the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” in 2019.

“If new pay is based on previous pay, then gender pay gaps are perpetuated. The goal of such laws is to base compensation on the work performed and not on reliance on previous pay that may reflect gender discrimination,” said ESR founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Attorney Lester Rosen.

“When an employer has a background screening firm perform past employment verifications, it is critical that firm knows which states and cities prohibit such questions as well as software that facilitates compliance or else that employer could be fined,” explained Rosen, author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual.’

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – offers employment verifications that provide the applicant’s rate of pay only if permissible under state and local salary history laws. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/Verifications-References/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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