This past week, House Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-District of Columbia, introduced H.R. 6030, which seeks to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act and add a section prohibiting all employers from asking about a job applicant’s salary history. The bill, also known as the Pay Equity for All Act of 2016, would make it illegal for an employer to screen prospective employees based on their previous wages or salary histories, including benefits or other compensation or to require a prospective employee to disclose previous wages or salary histories, including benefits or other compensation. Additionally, employers would be prohibited from seeking the previous wages or salary history of any prospective employee from a current or former employer.
The bill is co-sponsored by Democratic Reps. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Jackie Speier of California and Jerrold Nadler of New York. According to the sponsors, because many employers set wages based on an applicant’s previous salary, workers from historically disadvantaged groups often start out behind their counterparts in salary negotiations and never catch up. The sponsors seek to eliminate the wage gap that women and people of color often encounter.
If the bill were to become law, employers could be subject to a civil penalty of $5,000 for a first offense, increased by an additional $1,000 for each subsequent offense, not to exceed $10,000; and be liable to each employee or prospective employee who was the subject of the violation for special damages up to $10,000 as well as attorneys’ fees.