Insights into the forces shaping our industry.

New Law Restricts Employers


New laws are starting to take effect in several states that will now ban employers from asking “orally or in writing, personally or through an agent” about a potential employee’s compensation history. The goal is to narrow the gender wage gap and equal the playing field for women in the work place. Currently, this law is in effect or on the books to take effect in the following states; MA, WA, CA, DE, OR and New York City.

There are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind moving forward;

*salary history is defined as current or prior wages, benefits and other compensation*

Acceptable questions:

•What do you expect to be compensated for this position?

•What salary do you expect for this role?

•What type or amount do you expect to earn in incentive or commissions for this position?

•Do you have unvested deferred compensation or equity/guaranteed earnings that you will lose if you leave your current position? You are allowed to ask how much they will lose and how that plan is structured in addition to asking the vesting schedule.

Unacceptable questions:

•What is your current salary?

•What was your salary when you worked for XYZ company?

•What is your total compensation? (for current or any past employers)

•Can you provide a copy of your W2/1099? (for current or prior years)

•How much did you make in bonus/or commission? (for current or prior employers)

•What benefits do you receive? (for current and prior employers)

While I do understand there is an importance to closing the wage gap amongst the sexes, I see the laws creating more work, more frustration and more offers being turned down.

For employers: what is your strategy in regard to the whole ban?


Prudence Thompson is a contingent and retained recruiter entirely dedicated to the Electrical Distribution industry. To learn more about how she can help your company attract talent, check out her biographyLinkedIn profile or email her at