Michigan Bars Local Governments From Banning Salary History Requests

Author: Robert S. Teachout, XpertHR Legal Editor

April 10, 2018

While many states and localities have passed or are considering passing bans preventing employers from asking prospective employees their salary history, Michigan is moving against that trend. The state passed a law expressly prohibiting its local governments from passing ordinances banning salary history requests.

Effective June 24, 2018, the new Michigan law amends provisions passed in 2015 preempting local governments from restricting the information employers can request on employment applications and expands them to include requests made in the interview process.

As amended, the law states that local governments may not pass or enforce any ordinance or policy regulating "information an employer or potential employer must request, require, or exclude on an application for employment or during the interview process from an employee or potential employee." Such information includes salary history, but questions regarding criminal history are specifically permitted in the law.

Salary history bans are part of a broader movement to close the wage gap between men and women doing the same or similar work. The reasoning behind these laws is that if an employer relies on an applicant's salary history to determine compensation, it perpetuates the gender wage gap.

Wisconsin is expected to join Michigan in preempting salary history bans. Its legislature recently passed a bill stipulating that no local ordinance may prohibit "an employer from soliciting information regarding the salary history of prospective employees." Governor Scott Walker is expected to sign the bill.