Employers Can No Longer Ask About or Look into Salary History
Effective September 29, 2019, Public Act 101-0177 (the “Act”) made significant changes to the Illinois Equal Pay Act affecting the equality of pay and the types of inquiries employers may make of employees.
Generally, the Act makes it unlawful for an employer to seek wage or salary history, including benefits or other compensation, from a job applicant or a job applicant’s current or former employer. Employers may not screen job applicants based on their current or prior wages or salary histories (including benefits or other compensation) by requiring that the wage or salary history of an applicant satisfy minimum or maximum criteria.
The Act does not prevent an employer from providing information about the wages, benefits, compensation or salary it offers, or from engaging in discussions with an applicant regarding their expectations with respect to wages, salaries, benefits or other compensation.
Violations of the Act could subject the employer to civil action and damages. Such damages could include:
- Injunctive relief (requiring the employer to take or refrain from taking certain actions);
- Special damages up to $10,000;
- Compensatory damages to the extent they exceed special damages; and
- Costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
The Act allows a claim for violation of these provisions to be brought within five years.
Employers should review their hiring processes and procedures to ensure they do not run-afoul of the amended Illinois Equal Pay Act.