DC is the first jurisdiction in 2024 to join the likes of many states (including California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island and Washington) in requiring pay transparency in job postings.
On January 12, 2024, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Wage Transparency Omnibus Amendment Act of 2023. If the Act survives the 30-day period of review by Congress (as required under the District of Columbia Home Rule Act), it will go into effect June 30, 2024.
The Act will apply to employers with at least one employee in DC.
Covered employers must provide the minimum and maximum projected hourly or salary pay in all job listings, as well as a description of the position. Employers will also be required to disclose the existence of healthcare benefits to prospective employees before the first interview. Further, in line with several states that have passed salary history ban laws, employers will be prohibited from screening applicants based on their wage history, or seeking the wage history of a candidate from a former employer. Finally, employers will also be required to post a notice in their workplaces notifying employees of their rights under the Act. This notice must be posted in a conspicuous place, in at least one location where employees congregate.
Ambiguities Under the Act
Notably, there are a few ambiguities concerning the pay disclosure obligations under the Act. The term “job listings” is currently undefined, and the Act does not make any express reference to disclosure obligations as applied to promotions and transfer opportunities (like many other state pay transparency laws, such as those in Colorado, Illinois, and New York). However, given the broad language of the Act (as it applies to “all job listings”), the disclosure obligations will also likely apply to internal job postings for promotions and transfer opportunities.
The Act is also silent with respect to whether its pay disclosure obligations will cover remote positions, and it does not explain how detailed the disclosure of healthcare benefits to applicants needs to be prior to the first interview. We will stay on the lookout for local guidance clarifying some of these uncertainties presented and will post updates here.
Enforcement Actions and Penalties
While there is no private right of action under the Act, it authorizes the Attorney General to investigate whether an employer has violated the Act, and to bring a civil action against an employer seeking restitution, injunctive, compensatory, or “other authorized relief” for any individual or the public at large. If successful, the Attorney General will also be entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs, and statutory penalties.
Baker McKenzie’s Pay Equity Compendium
The proliferation of pay transparency laws, and potential penalties for non-compliance, make it more important than ever for employers to keep up with the ever changing pay transparency landscape. For a quick and easy way to stay on top of pay transparency obligations globally, we offer a fixed fee Global Pay Equity Compliance Compendium that monitors the legal pay transparency and reporting requirements and forthcoming developments across 70+ jurisdictions (of which over 40 currently have pay transparency or reporting requirements). Please contact a member of our team for more information.