Hawaii Bans Employers from Asking about Salary History

By Michael Klazema on 7/26/2018

On July 5, 2018, Governor David Y. Ige signed Senate Bill 2351 which prohibits Hawaii employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. The new act’s effective date is January 1, 2019, and covers all employers that have at least one employee in that state.

Under new Section 2 of Chapter 378 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, an employer cannot:

  • Inquire about the salary history of an applicant for employment; or
  • Rely on the salary history of an applicant in determining the salary, benefits, or other compensation for the applicant during the hiring process, including the negotiation of an employment contract.

Employers can discuss with the applicant any objective measures of the applicant’s productivity, such as revenue, sales, or other production reports and pay expectations for the job. If the applicant voluntarily and without prompting disclosure of their salary history, the employer may rely on the disclosed salary history information in determining the salary for the applicant and can verify that information.

In addition, the act provides that if the employer performs a background check to verify non-salary related information and the results incidentally disclose the applicant’s salary history, the information cannot be “relied upon during the hiring process for purposes of determining the salary, benefits, or other compensation of the applicant, including the negotiation of an employment contract.”

What This Means to You:

  • This act applies to all employers in Hawaii and will go into effect on January 1, 2019.
  • Employers may not seek compensation history information from job applicants.
  • Employers may rely on the compensation history of the job applicant only when the applicant voluntarily discloses their wage history.
  • Employers can discuss with the applicant the pay expectations or any objective measures of the applicant’s productivity.

The new act is accessible here for review:

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