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Is it Illegal to Verify Wage History?

Is it Illegal to Verify Wage History? - CRCA

In an attempt to foster pay equality and prevent wage discrimination, new legislation has been introduced in states and cities across the US. There have been nine jurisdictions that now prohibit salary history verifications during the hiring process. Trends are leading to the belief that many other states will soon follow suit. It is CRCA’s policy to not inquire or verify salary  history when conducting employment verifications during the background screening process. Below is breakdown of the jurisdictions that are prohibiting wage verification.

New York (Effective November 2017)

It is unlawful for an employer to inquire about salary history or benefits, verify prior wages, determine compensation based on a person’s salary history, request wage history from prior employers, search public records for wage or salary history or the wages of comparable positions or to use an application that requests salary history. However, if the wage or salary history is volunteered by the employee, at that time the employer is able to verify that information. An employer can also request salary expectations from a prospective employee. Penalties include fines up to $250,000 and mandatory training. For the full extent of the legislation for New York please visit

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/media/salary-history.page

Massachusetts (Effective July 2018)

It is unlawful for an employer to inquire about salary history, verify prior wages, determine compensation based on salary history or request wage/salary history from a previous employer. Employers do have the right, however, to verify wages if they are volunteered by the employee and/or verify previous salary after an offer of employment with compensation is negotiated. To read the full extent of the legislation in Massachusetts please visit

https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2016/Chapter177

Delaware (Effective January 2017)

It is unlawful for an employer to inquire about salary history, verify prior wages, determine compensation based on salary history or request wage/salary history from a previous employer. Employers do have the right, however, to verify wages after an offer of employment with compensation is negotiated. Penalties include civil suits for no less than $1,000 to $5,000 for the first offense and fines ranging from $5,000 to $10.000 for each subsequent offense. To read the full extent of the legislation in Massachusetts please visit

http://legis.delaware.gov/BillDetail?LegislationId=25664

Oregon (Effective January 2019)

It is unlawful for an employer to inquire about salary history, verify prior wages, determine compensation based on salary history or utilize wage/salary history to determine salary for internal hires or transfers. Penalties such as Civil lawsuits for violating the terms of this legislation cannot be filed until 2024. To read the full extent of the legislation in Oregon please visit

https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2005

Philadelphia (Pending Litigation)

It is unlawful for an employer to inquire about salary/wage history in writing, verify prior wages or determine compensation based on salary history. To read the full extent of the legislation in Philadelphia please visit

https://phila.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2849975&GUID=239C1DF9-8FDF-4D32-BACC-296B6EBF726C

California (Effective January 2018)

It is unlawful for an employer to inquire about salary history in writing, verify prior wages, determine compensation based on salary history or request wage history from a previous employer. Employers do have the right, however, to verify wages if they are volunteered by an employee. To read the full extent of the legislation in California please visit

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB168

Puerto Rico (Effective March 2018)

It is unlawful for an employer to inquire about salary history. Employers do have the right, however to verify wages if they are volunteered by an employee and/or verify previous salary after an offer of employment with compensation negotiated. To read the full extent of the legislation in Puerto Rico please visit

https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/state-and-local-updates/pages/puerto-rico-passes-pay-equity-law.aspx

Pittsburgh (Effective January 2017)

It is unlawful for an employer to inquire about salary history in writing, verify prior wages or determine compensation based on salary history. Employers do have the right, however, to verify wages if they are volunteered by the employee and/or verify previous salary after an offer of employment where compensation is negotiated. This legislation only applies to city employees in the city of Pittsburgh. To read the full extent of the legislation in Pittsburgh please visit

https://pittsburgh.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2931161&GUID=E45D1721-68E5-4BEC-9989-59C275B74AA7&Options=ID%7cText%7c&Search=Pittsburgh+Code+of+Ordinances%2c+Title+One%3a+Administrative%2c+Article+XI%3a+Personnel%2c+Chapter+181%3a+General+Provisions%2c+by+adding+a+new+Section%2c+%u201cSection+181.13%3a+Ensuring+Wage+Equity%u201d

New Orleans (Effective January 2017)

It is unlawful for an employer to inquire about salary history in writing, verify prior wages or determine compensation based on salary history. The legislation in New Orleans was the result of an executive order, and applies only to city departments and contracted employees who work for the city of New Orleans. To read the full extent of the legislation in New Orleans please visit

https://www.nola.gov/mayor/news/archive/2017/20170125-pr-mayor-issues-executive-order-to-addres/ 

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