Q&A: Asking for minimum salary requirements on employment applications

Author: Business and Learning Resources


We are an employer that operates in multiple states. We would like to include a field on our employment application that requests an applicant’s minimum salary requirement or requested salary. Are there any laws or other things we should consider?


The employer likely may ask applicants to provide minimum salary requirements or their salary expectations, but they should not require applicants to provide any specific information about their personal salary history.

Several states and localities prohibit employers from asking about an applicant’s salary history, including California, Cincinnati (Ohio), Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas City (Missouri), Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, New York City, Oregon, San Francisco (California), Vermont, and Washington. These laws often are part of discrimination or equal pay statutes and generally are intended to help prevent pay discrimination by employers that may use the salary history of protected class applicants such as women and minorities to pay them at a lower rate.

Therefore, to prevent potential pay discrimination claims, employers should not ask about personal salary history on the application or during a job interview, and instead should phrase pay inquiries in terms of pay expectations. The employer also should discuss this issue with an attorney to ensure compliance with state and local laws addressing salary history.

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