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Salary history and offers of employment

Job hunting in California and throughout the country is often a nerve-racking experience. In addition to having to sell oneself to an employer, job hunters are frequently asked a number of personal questions, including queries about previous salaries.

Workers and government officials may question the wisdom of allowing employers to ask about salary history. Some employers use this information in deciding what they plan to pay a candidate, despite the candidate's qualifications and previous job performance. In some cases, this tactic could harm a candidate who might have worked for a company in the nonprofit sector or in an economically depressed area where salaries were lower than industry averages.

On Oct. 12, the governor of California signed into law a bill that makes it illegal for employers to seek salary information from job candidates. While a candidate may voluntarily provide this information, and the employer could use it to make salary and hiring decisions, the employer may not ask about previous wages in an application or job interview. Many people believe that this change will make the hiring process fairer and will encourage employers to hire on the basis of a worker's ability to do the job.

Job seekers who are concerned about the fairness of a hiring process and who believe they may have been discriminated against may benefit from speaking with an experienced employee rights attorney. A lawyer may be able to review the client's case and possibly identify any irregularities. In addition, the attorney may be able to represent the client in seeking a settlement or pursuing litigation against an employer who has violated the law.

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