The City of Columbus, Ohio joins the increasing number of cities and states that have enacted salary history bans. Two other major cities in Ohio, Toledo and Cincinnati, have had salary history bans for years to help eliminate the gender pay gap. The ordinance was introduced by Councilmember Lourdes Barroso de Padilla and was passed unanimously by Columbus City Council on March 13th.
Effective March 2024, employers in Columbus, Ohio with at least 15 employees within the city, may not ask about an applicant’s prior salaries/wages. The new ordinance makes it unlawful for an employer to ask about current or prior wages, screen applicants based on their current or prior wages, make employment decisions solely on the applicant’s salary history, and refuse to hire or retaliate against an applicant for not disclosing their salary history. Employers can still discuss salary and benefit expectations with applicants. Employers that violate the ordinance could face civil fines of up to $5,000 depending on the number of offenses.
The trend of salary history bans is unlikely to stop anytime soon, as legislators continue to strive towards more pay equity. As these laws continue to be passed, it’s increasingly important that organizations are aware of the changing legislative landscape and understand how to comply. We will continue to provide updates as new laws and ordinances are passed.