Atlanta: City Job Applications Won’t Ask About Salary

February 26, 2019
The City of Atlanta is removing questions about salary from their job applications. The goal is to help eliminate wage discrimination.
Backgrounds Online | February 26, 2019


The City of Atlanta is removing questions about salary from their job applications. The goal is to help eliminate wage discrimination.

About Atlanta’s Decision

The City of Atlanta issued a press release to announce that they would remove questions about salary from their job applications. For years, people who applied for city positions were asked how much they made at their current or previous position. This information could then be used to help determine what compensation would be offered if the person was hired.

This practice can result in people getting paid different amounts despite doing similar work. Atlanta lawmakers are taking steps to help establish fair and consistent wages for all employees.

Keisha Lance Bottoms, mayor of Atlanta, stated: “The City of Atlanta has taken a critical step toward the elimination of pay discrimination by removing salary history questions on employment applications. Too often, salary history can trap employees in an unfair earnings cycle based on history rather than their skill set. Now, employees can be compensated based on their qualifications, experience and merit. Closing the wage gap and prioritizing equal pay policies helps ensure Citywide economic parity and moves us closer to a more equitable One Atlanta.”

Read the Press Release.

A Movement To Eliminate Wage Discrimination

According to the press release, women typically earn 80 cents for every dollar made by their male counterparts. The wage gap is said to be even larger for minorities. To help resolve this problem and establish fair wages for all workers, there is a movement in the United States to prevent employers from making decisions about compensation based on what a person currently earns or has earned previously.

Some states and cities have passed bills that prohibit employers from asking job seekers about their salary history. While these laws vary from place to place, the basic concept is to prevent employers from offering compensation based on how much a candidate earned elsewhere. Instead, each employer is encouraged to provide consistent wage levels for employees who do the same type of work. There are some exceptions. Employers can typically adjust compensation for individuals who:
· Have seniority.
· Live in areas with a high cost of living.
· Earned various degrees or certifications.
· Meet other allowable exceptions.

Future Expectations For Employers

Over the next few years, additional wage discrimination laws are expected to be implemented throughout America. Employers should be aware of and compliant with laws that are in effect where they operate. If an employer asks a candidate about their salary history in a location where doing so is not allowed, they could be accused of using discriminatory practices. Employers can keep up with new and upcoming laws by following this blog and checking our State Laws section.

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