Nevada Enacts Tough Salary History Ban to Promote Pay Equity

Author: Robert S. Teachout, XpertHR Legal Editor

June 7, 2021

A new law will prohibit Nevada employers from seeking job applicants' wage or salary history when making hiring decisions or determining the rate of pay to offer an applicant. Effective October 1, SB 293 applies to private employers and to state, county and local governmental agencies and hiring authorities.

In addition to prohibiting employers from asking about wage or salary history, the measure makes it unlawful for employers, if an applicant does not provide their pay history, to:

  • Refuse to interview, hire, promote or employ the applicant; or
  • Discriminate or retaliate against the applicant.

The law goes further than many other salary history laws by also requiring pay transparency. Once an applicant has completed an interview for the position the employer is required to provide them with the job's wage or salary range or rate. Employees who are applying for a position as a promotion or transfer are also covered under the law, except that the employer is not required to provide them with the wage or salary range or rate unless the employee first requests it.

Nevada joins 15 states in restricting private employers' use of a job applicant's salary history during the recruiting and hiring process. The rationale for passing such laws is to prevent an employer's reliance on an applicant's salary history from perpetuating past wage inequities and furthering the gender wage gap between men and women who perform the same or similar work.

On the federal level, the Biden administration has made eliminating gender-based pay disparities a priority, and has endorsed passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act to strengthen the Equal Pay Act. Among other things, the Paycheck Fairness Act would:

  • Prohibit employers from using an employee's salary history in determining wages or making hiring decisions;
  • Require the EEOC to collect compensation data from employers; and
  • Increase civil penalties for violations.

An earlier version of the Act passed the House of Representatives in 2019 but stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate. The House passed it again in March, and the bill is currently awaiting Senate consideration, which this time is led by the Democrats.