Toledo bans salary history questions from employers


Toledo, Ohio recently joined the growing number of nationwide jurisdictions to pass local ordinances prohibiting employers from asking applicants for salary history. Toledo is the second Ohio city to pass this type of ordinance, joining Cincinnati who passed the law earlier this year. The ordinance’s stated purpose is to “reduce the pay inequality for all,” and is specifically intended to address the city’s concern that women, particularly women of color, are frequently paid less than men for substantially similar work.

To address these concerns and to encourage employers to set pay scales based on the demands of a position and the skills and experience required, the ordinance prohibits employers from:

  • Inquiring about the salary history of an applicant

  • Screening job applicants based on current or prior wages, benefits, other compensation or salary histories

  • Relying on salary history when deciding whether to extend an offer of employment or in determining the salary, benefits or other compensation for an applicant during the hiring process, including the negotiation of an employment contract

  • Refusing to hire or otherwise retaliating against an applicant for not disclosing his or her salary history

Furthermore, on the reasonable request of an applicant who has received a conditional offer of employment, an employer will be required to provide pay scale information.

The ordinance does not apply to voluntary and unprompted disclosures related to an applicant’s pay history. Additionally, the ordinance excludes the following from coverage:

  • Positions for which compensation is determined pursuant to collective bargaining

  • Salary discussions involving an applicant rehired by an employer within five years of their most recent date of separation

  • An employer considering applicants for internal transfers or promotions

  • Any attempt by an employer to verify an applicant’s disclosure of non-salary related information or conduct a background check, provided that any disclosure of salary history is not relied on when determining the salary of the applicant

Applicants alleging a violation of this ordinance may bring suit within two years for compensatory damages, reasonable attorney’s fees, the costs of the action and such legal and equitable relief as the court deems proper.

The ordinance will go into effect on June 25, 2020. Accordingly, employers with operations in Toledo should begin reviewing and changing their applications and practices, and conduct trainings to ensure compliance.

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