Illinois Bans Compensation History Inquiries


Effective September 29, 2019, Illinois employers can no longer inquire about a job applicant’s compensation history or prohibit employees from discussing their compensation.  This new law is part of an amendment to the Illinois Equal Pay Act and is intended to help eliminate the gender gap in employee pay.  Under the new law, an employer may not:

  • Request that an applicant disclose wage or salary history as a condition of being considered for employment, being interviewed, or the like;
  • Seek wage or salary history from any current or former employer of an applicant;
  • Retaliate against someone who fails to comply with any wage or salary history inquiry; or
  • Prohibit employees from disclosing or discussing information about their wages, salary, benefits, or other compensation.

Nonetheless, not all discussions about compensation are off limits in the hiring process.  Employers may still ask about the applicant’s compensation expectations and provide information about the compensation range for the position being sought.  Moreover, employees may voluntarily disclose their compensation history, though employers cannot rely on the voluntary disclosure when making employment decisions. 

In the coming weeks, Illinois employers are encouraged to: (1) review job applications to remove any questions eliciting compensation history information; (2) retrain recruiters, hiring managers, and similar personnel to avoid inquiring about compensation history in the hiring process; and (3) review employee handbooks, policies, and agreements to ensure these documents do not restrict employees from discussing compensation information with other employees.

If you have any questions about this new requirement, please contact one of Honigman’s Labor and Employment attorneys.

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