Effective, September 29, 2019, Illinois employers are now prohibited from seeking or inquiring about a job applicant’s wage or salary history with any current or former employer.

Illinois’s new ban on salary history inquiries prohibits employers from requesting and/or requiring that applicants disclose information regarding their salary history as a condition of being interviewed, considered for employment or offered employment. However, this subsection does not apply if the applicant’s salary history is a matter of public record or if the applicant is one of the employer’s current employees.

The law applies to private employers with four or more employees as well as state agencies and school districts

Employers who violate these new previsions can be liable for a combination of:

  • Up to $10,000 in special damages;
  • Compensatory damages, to the extent they exceed an award of special damages;
  • Reimbursement of the plaintiff’s costs and attorney’s fee

Ban on Pay Secrecy Agreements

In addition to banning wage or salary history inquiries, the amended Illinois Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign a contract restricting them from disclosing or discussing their compensation or benefits with third parties. The only employees whom employers can contractually require maintaining the confidentiality of wage information are supervisors, human resources employees and any other employee with access to other employees’ wages or salary information.

What Can Employers Do?

To comply with these new requirements, Illinois employers should review their employment applications, recruiting questionnaires and other documents provided to job applicants or prospective employees to ensure they do not include any prohibited inquiries. Employers should also train their managers involved in the recruitment and interview process on how to discuss with applicants their salary expectations without running afoul of Illinois Equal Pay Act requirements.