AB 168, effective January 1, 2018, prohibits employers in California, including state and local government employers and the Legislature, from inquiring about or relying upon salary history as a factor in determining salary or whether to offer employment.
The intent of this statute is to prevent the perpetuation of pay inequities that arise when employment offers are based on previous pay that may have been based on discriminatory decisions. The statute seeks to narrow pay gaps due to gender, race, or ethnicity by focusing the prospective employer on the current competencies of the applicant and not on previous work as reflected in past pay.
From a legal standpoint, there may be justifiable arguments that the University, based on its constitutional status, may be exempt from this particular statute. However, given our institutional values and commitment to equity, the University is taking steps to eliminate questions about prior salary history from the recruitment process. The guidance provided here is designed for positions covered by academic personnel policies. In these guidelines, the term “University” is used to denote “prospective employer.”
The statute prohibits inquiries directed to applicants, current/former employers, and agents such as search firms or employment agencies. AB 168 adds Section 432.3 to the California Labor Code and further strengthens protections afforded under the California Equal Pay Act and Fair Pay Act.