Asking Candidates for Salary History May NOW Have Legal Implications


Recent discussions have employers wondering if they should be asking candidates for salary history during the interview process. Of particular concern is Oregon’s Equal Pay Act, portions of which are to go into effect in October 2017. Along with many other provisions, it contains the admonishment that employers may not ask an applicant how much they are currently paid, base a new hire’s pay on that individual’s current or past compensation, or comply with the Equal Pay Act by cutting a current employee’s pay.

Other States and municipalities with similar current or proposed ordinances or laws include New York City, which has the only active equal pay ordinance.

  • Philadelphia enacted in May 2017, which has been challenged in court by the Chamber of Commerce.
  • Massachusetts has enacted an equal pay statute due to go into effect on July 1, 2018.
  • Delaware passed a statute that becomes effective in December 2017.
  • California and Washington D.C. have bills pending in the legislature.

While the timeline and even passage of some of these bills is uncertain, it’s wise for hospitality employers to take steps to avoid all liability in the hiring process. One way for employers to address this issue is to include a salary range in a job posting or tell a job candidate the salary range early in the process to get everything out on the table.

Other best practices to consider include:

  • Brief your hiring managers on the latest legislation that affects your business
  • Train anyone who interviews candidates on practices to remain compliant
  • Clarify pay practices and structure salary levels to keep may rates consistent
  • Make compensation decisions based on measurable criteria to avoid appearance of favoritism
  • Document salary and promotions decision-making process

The most effective strategy may be to work with an executive search and recruitment firm that specializes in restaurant management and hospitality recruitment. It’s a smart way to avoid this issue entirely by allowing the firm to handle salary offers and negotiation for you. Leaving this part of the hiring process in the hands of hiring and industry experts like Horizon Hospitality can reduce your liability exposure and ensure you extend competitive compensation offers, keeping you in the running for the best candidates. To learn more about the extensive hospitality recruitment and hiring services offered by Horizon Hospitality, contact us today.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *