Question Mark Applicants

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On July 25, 2018, the Kansas City Council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance to remove the salary history question from applications for city jobs after several women’s groups asked the city to stop collecting salary history in the hiring process, according to a report from KCTV News Channel 5 in Kansas City, Missouri.

KCTV News Channel 5 reports that the Kansas City Council “will also ask companies who have contracts with cities to do the same” regarding removing the salary history question from job applications. The Council is also going to conduct “a gender study that will compare women’s pay with men’s pay by job category.”

Alice Kitchen, a co-chair of the Women’s Equality Coalition, told KCTV that not asking for salary history is “the fair, right thing to do” to end wage disparity with future hires and reduce legal liability. She also said was “no ordinance or state law in the Midwest protesting pay equity” until the ordinance was passed in Kansas City.

“If you put it on there, then the hiring party can default to the lower range. It’s not fair to you if you have higher education and more experience and skill and related value to that job then you should be paid as much as the same person, a guy who is in that same job,” Kitchen explained to KCTV.

“What we really want to do is to show employers in the private sector that if we can do it, they can do it too,” said Councilman Scott Wagner. “Just as we had in the ‘Ban the Box’ discussion, the city took the lead and a couple of years later passed an ordinance, actually just recently, that applied to all employers in Kansas City, Missouri.”

In February 2018, Kansas City adopted a “Ban The Box” ordinance to bar private and public employers from asking applicants about criminal records and delay such inquiries until later in the hiring process to give ex-offenders a fair chance at employment. The ordinance took effect on June 9, 2018.

A 2013 study from the American Association of University Women found women get paid 6.6 percent less than men in their first jobs. When it comes to subsequent jobs, employers often inquire about a candidate’s salary history as a basis for establishing their new salary, which worsens gender pay inequality over time.

Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that women earned 80 percent of what men earned in 2015. According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, the gender wage gap has narrowed by less than one-half a penny per year in the United States since 1963, when Congress passed the Equal Pay Act of 1963.

States, counties, and cities have passed laws prohibiting employers from seeking salary history as part of a growing equal pay movement to narrow the gender wage gap between women and men. This is one of the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2018 selected by Employment Screening Resources® (ESR).

“When employers have a background screening firm perform past employment verifications, it is critical that the screening firm have the knowledge about states, counties, and cities that prohibit salary history questions and software that helps facilities compliance,” explained ESR founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen.

Notable cities in the U.S. other than Kansas City with laws prohibiting employers from asking about salary history include New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. States with salary history prohibitions include California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Oregon. Several counties also have these types of laws.

More ESR News Blogs about Bans on Salary History Questions

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider – offers more ESR News blogs about laws banning salary history questions to help employers comply state and local laws when conducting background checks on job applicants. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

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