Cincinnati Salary History Ban Takes Effect

The city of Cincinnati's salary history ban is set to take effect this Friday, March 13, 2020. Passed in 2019 in an effort to address gender and race-based pay discrepancies, the ordinance provided employers with one year to prepare for its implementation.  Under the new ordinance, covered employers are not permitted to: 

  • Inquire about the salary history of an applicant for employment;
  • Screen job applicants based on their current or prior wages, benefits, other compensation, or salary histories;
  • Rely on the salary history of an applicant in deciding whether to offer employment to an applicant, or in determining the salary, benefits, or other compensation for such applicant during the hiring process, or
  • Refuse to hire or otherwise disfavor injury, or retaliate against an applicant for not disclosing his or her salary history.

Employers are further required to provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant where that applicant has been provided a conditional offer of employment. Employers covered by this ordinance are all private employers located within the city of Cincinnati city limits and using the services of fifteen or more employees within the city of Cincinnati city limits.  

Employers are, of course, able to engage with an applicant about their expectations with respect to compensation. Also there may be occasions where an applicant voluntarily discloses his or her salary history. Employers just need to be careful not to consider that history in determining any offer of employment. Employers who violate the ordinance are open to private causes of action for compensatory damages, attorneys' fees, costs, and even equitable relief. In response to the ordinance, there are several steps employers should take: 

  • Revise any employment applications which request information prohibited by the ordinance;
  • Train all human resources employees and hiring officers to avoid soliciting information prohibited by the ordinance; and
  • Prepare clear pay scale information for any open position to promptly produce upon an applicant's request.

If you have any further questions regarding how to adapt your hiring processes in response to the new ordinance, please contact a member of our Labor & Employment Group.

KMK Law articles and blog posts are intended to bring attention to developments in the law and are not intended as legal advice for any particular client or any particular situation. The laws/regulations and interpretations thereof are evolving and subject to change. Although we will attempt to update articles/blog posts for material changes, the article/post may not reflect changes in laws/regulations or guidance issued after the date the article/post was published. Please consult with counsel of your choice regarding any specific questions you may have.


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