A new law taking effect in June of 2018 will make it illegal in Massachusetts to ask job applicants about their previous salary, or salary history. The law is intended to help close the wage gap between men and women, and bars employers from asking about applicants' salaries before offering them a job.
The new law will require hiring managers to state a compensation figure up front, based on what the applicant is worth to the practice, rather than on what he or she made in a previous job. It is viewed as "groundbreaking", and is being pushed by lawmakers and others to become a model for other states.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, "by barring companies from asking prospective employees how much they earned in previous jobs, Massachusetts will ensure that the historically lower wages and salaries assigned to women and minorities do not follow them for their entire careers."
Although Federal law prohibits gender-based pay discrimination, many companies still tend to set salaries for new hires using their previous pay as a base line, and violations, often unintended, are hard to prove.
If there is a component to your hiring paperwork and/or job applications that asks for this information, I recommend you remedy that immediately, and begin using the new guidelines well in advance of the 2018 deadline.
If you need help in this process, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'll be happy to work with you to ensure you are compliant with the new law, and that you and your staff have all the tools and processes you need to hire the right person when the need arrives.
A link to the complete New York Times article can be found here.