Washington: Equal Pay Law Expanded; Salary History Inquiries Now Prohibited


Certain Employers with WA Employees, as indicated


July 28, 2019


Contact HR On-Call

(888) 378-2456

House Bill 1696 again expands Washington’s existing equal pay legislation, the Equal Pay and Opportunities Act (EPOA).  New amendments to the EPOA include (1) prohibiting employers from inquiring into job applicants’ prior salary history, and (2) requiring employers to provide salary range information to applicants and employees.

Restrictions on salary history inquiries.  Employers may not directly or indirectly (such as requesting information from a prior employer) seek out an applicant’s past wage or salary history information.  There are only a few exceptions to this rule: employers may confirm any salary information (1) that an applicant voluntarily discloses, or (2) after an employer negotiates with and extends to the employee an offer of employment that includes compensation.  This provision applies to all Washington employers, regardless of size.

Salary range information.  Along with the general prohibition on inquiries, employers will be required to provide a wage scale or salary range to both applicants and current employees.  This information must be provided upon request by an existing employee who has been offered internal transfer, a new position, or promotion.  If no wage scale or salary range exists, employers must instead provide a “minimum wage or salary expectation” set by the employer prior to posting the position or making the internal offer.  Unlike the restriction on salary history inquiries, this particular provision applies to employers of 15 or more employees.

Action Items

  1. Review job postings, employment applications, or other hiring documentation and remove language that references or requests salary history information.
  2. Prepare wage scales or ranges to prepare for responding to salary in formation requests.
  3. Have hiring staff trained on the new requirements of the expanded EPOA.
  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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