Cincinnati, OH: Salary History Inquiries Now Prohibited


All Employers with Cincinnati, OH Employees


March 13, 2020


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(888) 378-2456

On March 12, 2019, a new ordinance amended the Cincinnati, Ohio city code to make it unlawful for employers to ask job applicants about prior salary history or current earnings, among other provisions, with few exceptions.  Like other states and localities implementing similar prior salary history bans, this measure is intended to address discriminatory pay practices that are perpetuated by basing an applicant’s salary on historical compensation data.

Under the new “Prohibited Salary History Inquiry and Use” provision, employers are prohibited from:

  • Asking applicants about past or current salary;
  • Screening applicants based on wages or benefits;
  • Relying on salary history when making hiring decisions or determining compensation levels; and
  • Refusing to hire or retaliating against an applicant who refuses to provide his or her salary history.

Situations in which employers may review prior salary history information are limited in scope.  Examples of such scenarios are:

  • When the applicant or candidate is being considered for internal transfer or promotion;
  • When a former employee is re-hired within five years of previously separated employment;
  • When salary history comes up in background checks while verifying non-salary-related disclosures from an employee (so long as this information is not the basis for any compensation-related decisions made during the hiring process);
  • When the applicant discloses salary history information, voluntarily and without being prompted to do so.

This ordinance goes into effect one year from the date of ordinance, meaning the effective date of the salary history ban will be March 13, 2020.  In the interim, the Cincinnati city council is required to create a Salary History Implementation Working Group, whose role will be to advise employers on compliance with the ordinance.

Action Items

  1. Review the ordinance here.
  2. Look for upcoming recommendations and guidance from the designated task force within the next year.
  3. Have hiring staff and any management involved with compensation decisions trained on the provisions of the ordinance.
  4. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2019 ManagEase

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