Employers are no longer allowed to ask candidates, or their former employers, about prior salary history. While the full protections of the Oregon Equal Pay Act don’t go into effect in January of 2019, parts of the multi-layered law are effective October 6th, 2017. Similar to the law passed in Massachusetts earlier, this law aims to quickly close pay gaps by prohibiting employers from screening applicants based on salary history. Further, employers cannot rely on salary history in determining compensation for a position based on a prospective employee’s current or past compensation.
A second part of the law expands on existing prohibitions of discriminating against protected classes such as: race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability or age, making it illegal to pay employees who perform comparable work differing rates of pay should they hold one of the statuses listed prior.
The law creates considerable liability for employers who fail to follow these new rules. To best protect against claims, employers are encouraged to follow these recommendations:
• Train managers and anyone conducting interviews, to avoid inquiring about any of the protected statuses. Ensure they know that questions about salary are now prohibited.
• Review employee applications to verify that there aren’t any questions that could be in violation.
• Perform an equal pay analysis to assess whether any pay discrepancies exist among employees who perform similar work duties.