Salary Inquiry Prohibition Signed into Law

State legislation (A1094) which will prevent an employer from asking about a job applicant’s wage and salary history was signed into law Thursday by Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver. Oliver is serving as acting governor while Governor Phil Murphy is on a two-week vacation in Italy.

The new law will make it an unlawful employment practice in New Jersey for any employer to screen an applicant based on their salary history, including prior wages, salary, commission, benefits or any other current or previous compensation. The law is designed to ensure that employees in the state receive salaries that are commensurate with their skills, qualifications, and experience.

Some studies have shown that women who hold full-time, year-round jobs in New Jersey are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to men holding full-time, year-round jobs and that this gender wage gap is demonstrated across all industries and education level of workers. The wage gap between Latina women and White men in New Jersey is the largest in the nation.

According to research from the National Partnership for Women and Families, wage inequality leads to a combined loss of $32.5 billion in New Jersey every year.

Currently, employers are permitted to ask applicants about their salary histories perpetuating the wage gap by allowing prospective employers to offer lower salaries to women and minorities than they otherwise would. Under the new law, which takes effect January 1, 2020, any employer who attempts to ask or obtain an applicant’s salary history will be subject to a civil penalty of no more than $1,000 for a first offense, $5,000 for a second violation and $10,000 for any subsequent violations.

The legislation passed the Assembly (53-24) in March and the Senate (26-9) in June.