Maine: Salary History Inquiry Ban and Equal Pay Update


All Employers with ME Employees


September 17, 2019


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Governor Janet Mills recently signed L.D. 278 prohibiting employer inquiries into the salary history of job applicants until after an offer of employment is made stating “all terms of compensation,” except where federal or state law otherwise requires disclosure or verification of compensation information for employment purposes. Any attempt to directly or indirectly (including through an employment agency) obtain compensation information from a job applicant before an offer of employment has been made, qualifies as unlawful employment discrimination under the Maine Human Rights Act.

If a job applicant “voluntarily” discloses salary history information “without prompting by the employer,” the employer may seek to confirm the information before providing an offer of employment. However, employers must take care when using “voluntarily” provided salary history information, to ensure that they can prove the information was voluntarily given should a claim arise. Additionally, even when lawfully relying on a job applicant’s salary history, employers must still comply with applicable equal pay laws.

The bill also prohibits employers from preventing employees from discussing or disclosing their or other employees’ wages. Employers should note that violations of these rules are subject to penalties between $100 and $500 per violation. Maine’s Department of Labor may also bring litigation against the offending employer.

Action Items

  1. Review the text of the bill here.
  2. Have employment applications and hiring processes updated to remove any request for salary history information.
  3. Have hiring managers trained on the new requirements.
  4. Have policies updated to allow employees to discuss other employees’ wages.
  5. 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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