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Equal Pay Act Salary History Ban FAQ

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) provided below highlight topics and specific questions that are often asked of the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL). The information provided in the FAQs is intended to enhance public access and understanding of IDOL laws, regulations and compliance information. 

The FAQs should not be considered a substitute for the appropriate official documents (i.e. statute and/or administrative rules.) Individuals are urged to consult legal counsel of their choice. Court decisions may affect the interpretation and constitutionality of statutes. The Department cannot offer individuals legal advice or offer advisory opinions. If you need a legal opinion, we suggest you consult your own legal counsel. These FAQs are not to be considered complete and do not relieve employers from complying with applicable IDOL laws and regulations.

1. Can employers ask me for my salary history or use my salary history when determining whether to offer me a job or when determining how much to pay me?

No. It is unlawful for an employer to request or require a wage or salary history from a job applicant as a condition of being considered for employment or as a condition of employment.

2. Can employers ask me about employment benefits I have been provided in the past during the application process?

No. It is also unlawful for an employer to request or require a job applicant to disclose benefits or other compensation received at any current or former employer as a condition of being considered for employment or as a condition of employment.

3. Who is covered by the law?

Illinois job applicants. This includes applicants to part time and full-time positions, temporary or permanent, whether hourly or salary. The law however does not cover independent contractors.

4. Can employers use recruiters to determine applicants' salary histories?

No. Recruiters, employment agencies, staffing agency or any other agent of an employer may not screen applicants based on their current or prior wages or salary histories, benefits or other compensation.

5. Can an employer ask about my salary when calling my current or former employers?

No. It is unlawful for an employer or their agent to ask for a wage or salary history, benefits or other compensation from an applicant’s employer or former employers when conducting verification or reference checks.

6. What happens if I refuse to answer a question about my current salary during an interview?

It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you because you fail to answer the employer’s salary history question.

7. What if my employer knows my current salary?

The prohibition does not apply if a job applicant’s salary history is a matter of public record or if the applicant is a current employee applying with the same employer.

8. Can an employer prohibit me from discussing my salary with other individuals?

No. An employer cannot prohibit its employees from disclosing their own salaries, benefits or other compensation to other individuals.

9. Can job applicants volunteer salary history information?

Yes. An applicant may voluntarily disclose their prior wage or salary history including benefits or other compensation. However, the disclosure must be in fact voluntary and not prompted by the employer. The employer shall not consider or rely on the voluntary disclosures as a factor in determining whether to offer a job applicant employment, in making an offer of compensation, or determining future wages, salary, benefits, or other compensation.

10. Can employers provide a salary range to an applicant or discuss with an applicant their salary and benefits expectations?

Yes. An employer can provide information about the wages, benefits, compensation, or salary offered in relation to a position. The employer can also engage in discussions with an applicant about the applicant’s expectations with respect to wage or salary, benefits, and/or other compensation.

11. Who do I contact if I believe this law has been violated?

You should call the Illinois Department of Labor at the Equal Pay Hotline 866-372-4365.