What Is Your Salary History? Beware, It Is Now Unlawful in Minnesota to Ask a Perspective Employee About Salary History

Posted by Bray Dohrwardt | Jan 23, 2024 | 0 Comments

Asking a prospective employee to disclose their salary history during the recruiting process is increasingly controversial and unlawful in many cities and states. While many employers believe it is essential information to help determine a fair salary offer, many job seekers feel uncomfortable disclosing it due to pay parity, etc. Minnesota has joined other states in banning the question. As of January 1, 2024, it is unlawful for all Minnesota public, private, and non-profit employers to ask for an applicant's current or past salary history during the hiring process. Click here to learn more about Minnesota's new law.

So, how should employers handle the “salary issue” during the hiring process?  Here is some background on the issue and a few tips to help employers navigate the process:

  1. Understanding the Issue: Remember that prospective employees are learning about you as much as you are learning about the employee. Many prospective employees believe asking them about salary history perpetuates pay gaps and may lead to potential discrimination. According to the Department of Labor, many groups have historically been paid less than their counterparts, and by asking for salary history, employers risk perpetuating this bias. Indeed, many laws prohibit asking for salary history, including Minnesota's new law, the “Preventing Pay Discrimination Act,” which is intended to prevent this discrimination.
  2. Be transparent about salary ranges and confirm the prospective employee's expectations: Employers should be transparent about the salary range for the job. This allows job seekers to determine if the salary aligns with their expectations before interviewing. Confirming early in the process that expectations are aligned will enable employers to verify whether moving forward with the interviewing and hiring process is worth everyone's time. It is frustrating to commit the resources to time-consuming interviews, background checks,  and so on, only to have an offer rejected for salary reasons. Also, remember that Minnesota's new law does not prohibit employees from voluntarily sharing their salary history.
  3. Know your state and local laws: Employers should research and understand these rules to ensure hiring practices are compliant. This is especially true today, where many out-of-state companies hire remote and hybrid employees in several cities and states where these laws are on the books. Employers should check with their attorneys to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.

Contact the Dohrwardt Law Firm to discuss your recruiting strategies and to learn more about business compliance.

The information provided is only for general information and is not intended to constitute legal advice.  Information on this website, including third-party links, may not include the most up-to-date information, so you should contact your attorney to discuss your particular matter. Third-party links are provided for convenience only and are not an endorsement by the Dohrwardt Law Firm.

About the Author

Bray Dohrwardt

As an accomplished attorney with over 22 years of experience, Bray Dohrwardt has built an impressive career, enabling business growth and commercial success for many companies from start-ups to large corporations and nonprofits. He focuses his practice on business law and energy law.


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Bray Dohrwardt is licensed to practice law in Minnesota and Texas. Please contact the Dohrwardt Law Firm to discuss how the firm can help you get business done.