With all the discussion around California’s salary history ban, it’s easy to forget that some cities have adopted their own regulations. For companies with operations in San Francisco, it is important to be aware of the city’s salary history ordinance.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is prohibited?

  • The ordinance bans employers, including city contractors and subcontractors, from considering current or past salary of an applicant in determining whether to hire the applicant or what salary to offer the applicant.
  • It prohibits employers from asking applicants about their current or past salary.
  • Also, employers are prohibiting from releasing the salary history of any current or former employee to that person’s employer or prospective employer without written authorization from the current or former employee (unless the release of salary history is required by law, is part of a publicly available record, or is subject to a collective bargaining agreement).

Who’s covered?

  • Applicant” defined: person applying tor employment to be performed in the geographic boundaries of the city and whose application, in whole or part, will be solicited, received, processed or considered, whether or not through an interview, in the city. “Applicant” does not include a person applying for employment with their current employer.
  • Employer” defined: any individual, firm, corporation, partnership, labor organization, group of persons, association, or other organization however organized registered to do business in the city. “Employer” includes job placement and referral agencies and other employment agencies.
  • Employment” defined: any occupation vocation, job, or work, including but not limited to temporary or seasonal work, part-time work, contracted work, contingent work, work on commission, and work through the services of a temporary or other employment agency for which the applicant is to receive a salary.  Employment does not include work as an independent contractor.
  • Inquire” defined: any direct or indirect statement, question, prompting or other communication, orally or in writing personally or through an agent, to gather information or about an applicant, using any mode of communication, including but not limited to application forms and interviews. 

What if I don’t comply?

  • The ordinance authorizes the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement to implement and enforce the provision; the city is authorized to bring a civil action against employers for violations.
  • For the first violation occurring from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019, the OLSE will issue a warning and notice to correct.
  • Starting July 1, 2019, for any subsequent violation, there is administrative penalty of no more than $100 for each employee or applicant. Thereafter, for subsequent violations occurring within 12 months of that violation, the penalty may increase to no more than $200 for the second violation, and to no more than $500 for each additional violation. The penalty shall be made payable to the city for each employee. If compliance is not forthcoming, the OLSE may refer the action to the City Attorney who may initiate a civil action.

When is this effective?

  • July 1, 2018

Is there a posting / notice obligation?

  • Yes, there will be. However, the OLSE has not yet released the notice. Stay tuned.

For more details, please reach out to your Baker McKenzie lawyer.