Washington Outlaws Pay History Questions

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On May 9, 2019 Governor Jay Inslee signed a new law into effect that forbids employers from seeking a job applicant’s salary history or requiring that an applicant’s prior wage or salary history meet certain criteria.  Under the new law, which shall be known as the Washington Equal Pay and Opportunities Act, employers may confirm an applicant’s wage or salary history if the applicant voluntarily discloses it or after the employer has made an offer of employment with compensation to the applicant.

Remedies for violation of the Washington Equal Pay and Opportunities Act include actual damages; statutory damages equal to the actual damages or $5,000, whichever is greater; interest of 1% per month on all compensation owed; and attorneys’ fees and costs.

Please feel welcome to contact us if you have questions about the permissible scope of interview questions.


About the Authors

Emma Kazaryan

Emma Kazaryan is an employment attorney in the firm’s employment and litigation practice groups. Emma has successfully represented clients in severance negotiations; workplace investigations; Seattle Office of Labor Standards investigations; and wrongful discharge, discrimination, and retaliation claims. She also counsels employers regarding best-practices and drafting employee handbooks, employment agreements, and employment policies. She has been recognized by the Best Lawyers publication as a “One to Watch.”

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