Salary History: Can an employer ask my salary history in an interview?

Woman in an employment interview discussing salary history
Woman in an employment interview discussing salary history

It was not long ago that an employer could ask your salary history and base their offer on your past salaries. The good news is that many states and localities have banned employers from asking about your salary history. There are currently 15 states that have passed laws prohibiting the salary history question. Many localities within those states, as well as other states, have also jumped on the bandwagon. These laws are fairly new, since 2016, so it is anticipated that many states will follow in the prohibition of asking such a question. Even if you do not work in a state or locality that has passed a law, the employer may still stay away from asking the question if the employer is headquartered in one of the states prohibiting the salary history question.

States that regulate salary history questions:
  • California – all employers;
  • Connecticut – all employers;
  • Delaware – employers with more than 4 employees;
  • Hawaii – all employers;
  • Illinois – state agencies;
  • Massachusetts – all employers;
  • Michigan – state agencies;
  • New Jersey – state agencies;
  • New York – state agencies (see below for localities with additional regulations;
  • North Carolina – state agencies;
  • Oregon – all employers;
  • Puerto Rico – all employers in the territory;
  • Pennsylvania – state agencies (see below for Philadelphia and Pittsburg);
  • Vermont – all employers.
Localities with additional salary history question regulations:
  • Atlanta, Georgia – city agencies;
  • Chicago, Illinois – city agencies;
  • Louisville, Kentucky – city agencies;
  • New Orleans, Louisiana – county agencies;
  • Montgomery County, Maryland – county agencies;
  • Jackson, Mississippi – city agencies;
  • Kansas City, Missouri – employers with more than 6 employees;
  • St. Louis, Missouri – all employers;
  • Albany County, New York – all employers;
  • New York, New York – all employers;
  • Westchester County, New York – all employers;
  • Cincinnati, Ohio – all employers with more than 15 employees;
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – all employers;
  • Pittsburg, Pennsylvania – city agencies;
  • Salt Lake City, Utah – city agencies.

If you do not see your state, city or county on the list above, check your state and local government websites. The law is evolving and could have changed since the date of this article.

The words and other content provided in the blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as professional advice (please read the Terms and Conditions for additional information).


Alicia Lillegard, Esq.

Alicia Lillegard has over 20 years of experience in employment law, human resources and insurance, working with with large blue chip companies, startups, and not-for-profit organizations. Ms. Lillegard is currently Managing Director of New England Human Capital, a human resources consultancy which advises small and midsize businesses on Human Resources compliance, including employment procedures, employee relations and employee benefits. She holds degrees from Loyola University Chicago and John Marshall Law School.

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