Delaware Bans Employers from Asking about Salary History

By Michael Klazema on 11/14/2017

On June 14, 2017 Governor John C. Carney, Jr. signed House Bill 1 (the Act) which amends Title 19 of the Delaware Code by prohibiting employers from inquiring into an applicant’s compensation history. Following Oregon, Delaware is the latest state to join the trend of banning salary history inquiries. The new act takes effect on December 14, 2017.

Under § 709B of Title 19 of the Delaware Code, it is an unlawful practice for employers to screen applicants based on their compensation histories (including by requiring that an applicant’s prior compensation satisfy minimum or maximum criteria) and seek the compensation history of an applicant from the applicant or a current or former employer. An employer may request the applicant’s salary information “after an offer of employment with terms of compensation has been extended and accepted, for the sole purpose of confirming the applicant’s compensation history.” The Act does not prohibit employers from discussing or negotiating compensation expectations provided that the employer does not request or require salary history.

The state Department of Labor has the authority to file a civil penalty claim for violations in court. An employer that fails to comply with the new Act will face civil penalties of $1,000-$5,000 for a first offense and $5,000-$10,000 for each subsequent violation.  

The act is accessible here for review:

What this Means to You:

  • This act applies to all employers in Delaware and will go into effect on December 14, 2017.
  • Employers may not seek compensation information from job applicants or screen applicants based on their compensation information.
  • An employer may request an applicant’s salary information after an offer of employment with terms of compensation has been extended and accepted by the applicant.
  • An employer may negotiate or discuss with the applicant compensation expectation as long as they do not ask for or require the applicant to disclose their pay history

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