Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 2282 by Assemblywoman Susan Eggman on July 18, 2018 as Chapter 127. The bill provides clarity on several provisions of existing California law that’s intended to prohibit the use of prior salary history in negotiations between employers and applicants for employment. The bill amended Labor Code Sections 432.3 and 1197.5 and went into effect on January 1, 2019.

AB 2282 defined the terms “pay scale,” “reasonable request,” and “applicant” for purposes of the existing law. AB 2282 further clarified that existing law does not prohibit an employer from asking an applicant for employment salary expectations for the position that he or she is applying for.

In addition, the new law allows an employer to make a compensation decision based upon an employee’s current salary, so long as any wage differential from the particular compensation is noted.

The bill specifies that the prohibition on asking a job applicant about prior salary does not actually forbid the employer from asking the applicant for employment about his or her salary expectations.

In terms of specific provisions, the bill also said that a “pay scale” means a salary or hourly wage range, and that a “reasonable request” means a request that’s made after the applicant has completed an initial interview with the employer. Then AB 2282 defines an “applicant” to mean an individual who is seeking employment and is not currently employed with that particular employer.

Note, too, that AB 2282 also made two important changes to California’s Equal Pay Act in both the equal pay provisions. One is based upon gender and the other on race or ethnicity.

The new law struck the requirement that salary history shall not, by itself, justify any disparity in compensation. “Prior salary shall not justify any disparity in compensation.”

This bill didn’t have any opposition and moved relatively easily through the legislative process. It was co‑sponsored by the American Association of University Women, California Employment Lawyers Association, and equal rights advocates.

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