Colorado Passed A Salary History Ban​

August 20, 2019
In an attempt to fight wage discrimination, CO passed a bill that prohibits employers from asking applicants about their salary history.
Backgrounds Online | August 20, 2019

In an attempt to fight wage discrimination, CO passed a bill that prohibits employers from asking applicants about their salary history.

About The Bill

Colorado Senate Bill 85 (SB85) is known as the Equal Work Act. It prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants and employees because of their gender.

Women are commonly paid less than their male counterparts even when they do comparable work under comparable circumstances. When employers rely on a person’s previous salary to determine what level of compensation to offer, this issue tends to continue. An individual who is currently making less than others due to their gender or another protected factor is therefore unlikely to receive the compensation amount they deserve.

To help remedy this, SB85 states that Colorado employers:
· Are prohibited from discriminating against any employee or job seeker due to their gender.
· May not pay one employee less than another if they do substantially similar work under similar circumstances.
· May not ask applicants about their current or previous salary.
- If they are aware of a person’s salary, then they may not use that information to help determine what level of compensation to offer.
· Are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against candidates for not divulging their salary history.

Read the full bill.


SB85 does provide some exceptions to these laws. Employers may adjust compensation amounts based on bona fide business factors including:
· Seniority.
· A merit system.
· The cost of living based on geographic location.
· Applicants having varying levels of experience and education.
· An internal system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production.
· Whether or not travel is required for the position.

What Colorado Employers Should Know

Governor Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 85 in May, 2019. It goes into effect on January 1, 2021. Employers in the Centennial State should be aware of this law and prepared for compliance.

Backgrounds Online recommends that every employer maintain written hiring and background screening policies. Organizations in Colorado may wish to update their internal documentation to show they are planning for compliance with SB85. Every employer is further encouraged to seek advice from legal counsel when creating and documenting these policies to ensure they comply with relevant federal, state and local laws.

Anti Wage Discrimination Laws Are Spreading

Employers throughout the nation should be aware that laws which prohibit asking applicants about their salary history are becoming more common. We’ve seen them implemented in multiple areas and more are expected to be passed. Best practice is to get ahead of these laws by not asking job seekers about their current compensation and taking steps to ensure every part of your hiring process is fair and transparent.

We are dedicated to providing compliant background screening forms, useful resources and background check packages that can be customized for any position. When you are ready to run background checks for applicants, contractors, volunteers or employees, please contact us. Our expert team is available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.