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United States : Illinois prohibits employers from asking for past salary information during recruitment
Planet Labor, 4 October 2019, n°11401 - www.planetlabor.com

Under an amendment to the Equal Pay Act of 2003 in the US state of Illinois, which came into force on 29 September, employers and recruitment firms are now forbidden from asking for the salary history of job candidates. In a statement from 13 August, issued when the amendment was passed, the state’s governor, of the Democratic Party, said: “The idea behind the new prohibition is to help break a cycle where predominantly female and minority workers have received lower pay for performing the same or similar work as male and non-minority workers. Employers are more likely to perpetuate this situation if they base the new employees’ pay on what they had previously earned.” The prohibition applies at each stage of the recruitment process and if this information is disclosed by a candidate, the recruiter must not take this into account when making their decision. Under the amendment, a violation could entitle an employer or a candidate to special damages of up to $10,000. Meanwhile sanctions will be heavier if the principle of equal pay is flouted. Punishments will now include compensatory damages “if the employee proves that the employer acted with malice or reckless indifference”, in addition to damages for the breach of their legal obligation. A similar law was passed by the governor of the state of New York on 10 July (see article n°11199).