On October 12, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 168 into law.  This bill prohibits an employer from seeking or relying upon salary history or other compensatory benefits information of a job applicant to determine whether to hire the individual or what salary/benefits to offer. Employers are prohibited from seeking this information either orally, in writing, personally, or through an agent.  The bill would also require an employer to provide the position’s pay scale to a job applicant upon request.


Who does the law apply to?

This law will apply to all California employers, including state and local governments and the Legislature.


Exceptions to the law:

The law does not apply to salary history information that is otherwise disclosable to the public pursuant to federal or state law.  Further, if an applicant makes an unprompted and voluntary disclosure of salary history to the prospective employer, the employer may consider that information in determining salary.


When does the law take effect?

This new law takes effect January 1, 2018, and joins the ranks of other laws aimed at similar objectives, including recently enacted legislation in  New York City (effective October 31, 2017) and San Francisco (effective July 1, 2018).


Action Items for California Employers:

  • Employers should inform all human resource professionals, recruiters, and relevant employees and agents about the new law and provide any necessary training.
  • All appropriate personnel should become familiar with the law, including but not limited to, unlawful questions and voluntary disclosures by applicants.
  • Employers should review and make all necessary changes to their hiring practices and procedures.
  • All questions about salary history must be removed from job applications, background checks, and any other verification inquiries or documentation.
  • Employers should complete all necessary internal education and procedural changes prior to the law’s effective date of January 1, 2018.


Additional Resources:

Full text of AB 168 (California law banning salary history inquiries)

New York City Int. No. 1253-A (now Local Law 67) (New York City law banning salary history inquiries)

San Francisco Ordinance 142-17 (San Francisco law banning salary history inquiries)



The information and materials on this blog are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal or tax advice. Information provided in this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments and may vary by jurisdiction. The content on this blog is for general informational purposes only and does not apply to any particular facts or circumstances. The use of this blog does not in any way establish an attorney-client relationship, nor should any such relationship be implied, and the contents do not constitute legal or tax advice. If you require legal or tax advice, please consult with a licensed attorney or tax professional in your jurisdiction. The contributing authors expressly disclaim all liability to any persons or entities with respect to any action or inaction based on the contents of this blog.

Joanna Castillo– Joanna is the Client Compliance Manager for Sequoia, where she works with our clients to optimize and streamline benefits compliance. In her free time, Joanna enjoys live music, college football, travel, and walking her dog in Golden Gate Park.