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Employers can no longer seek salary history information beginning October 6

October 2, 2017

By Liani J. Reeves

Bullard Law has previously written about the Oregon Equal Pay Act of 2017 which was passed by the 2017 Legislature and signed into law by the Governor on June 1st. While most of the provisions of the new law do not go into effect until 2019 or even later, the provision that makes it an unlawful employment practice for a prospective employer to seek salary history of an applicant or employee goes into effect October 6, 2017.

Therefore, starting October 6, employers may not:
  • Seek salary history information from an applicant or employee
  • Seek salary history information from an applicant’s or employee’s current or former employers
  • Use salary history information to determine a starting pay offer

Employers may:
  • Seek salary history information or request written authorization to confirm salary history information with past employers after a job offer is made that includes proposed compensation
  • Consider salary history of internal applicants applying for promotion or transfer
  • Request applicants or employees to provide desired salary information

While the provision goes into effect October 6, 2017, enforcement will not be immediate. BOLI has announced that its enforcement will begin January 1, 2019 and a private right of action alleging violations of this provision will not be available until January 1, 2024. Nonetheless, employers should take steps to discontinue seeking salary information from applicants and employees immediately as it will now be considered an illegal employment practice under the law.

In preparation for the law, employers should:
  • Review recruitment and hiring processes to remove any questions that ask for salary history information in an application or interview process;
  • Train those involved in the recruitment and hiring process not to seek prohibited salary information; and
  • Employers operating in multiple jurisdictions should decide whether it will handle Oregon’s hiring process differently or create a uniform application process.

For more information on the Equal Pay Act of 2017, see Bullard’s previous alert here. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries has also issued a technical assistance fact sheet which can be found here.
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