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Employers In California Can No Longer Ask About Your Salary History

Amtec Staffing / amtec.us.com

Amtec Staffing / amtec.us.com

This is part of our series on new California laws taking effect in 2018.

California employers will no longer be able to ask about your salary history during the job application process. The goal of prohibiting the question is to even the gender wage gap.

"This has been a tool, I think, for a lot of employers to justify paying — predominantly women — less than men, who are doing equal work," says Legislative Counsel and Policy Director Mariko Yoshihara with the California Employment Lawyers Association.

Yoshihara says this law will help change the conversation for women.

"Employers certainly can still ask, 'What are your salary expectations?' and I think that is a much more empowering question for an applicant to answer, because I think that is the appropriate question to be answering,” says Yoshihara. “A woman going into a new job can affirmatively say what she expects to be making based on the value of her work."

A study by the Institute for Women's Policy Research says without laws to help speed up salary equalization, the wage gap is likely to continue until the year 2059.

Democratic Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman of Stockton says she had bipartisan support for her bill.

"When we presented it, I had small-business owners who were Republicans also standing up and saying — both male and female — a person should be paid what the job is worth and what they're qualified to do, not based on their previous employment," says Eggman.

Eggman says her new law fits into the current dialog where women are saying "enough" to practices that treat them as second class citizens.

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