On Aug. 1, Illinois lawmakers amended the Illinois Equal Pay Act with several new rules for employers who request or disclose wage history for employees or job applicants. Employers can no longer bar employees from disclosing or discussing his/her wages or other compensation with third parties, and human resource personnel cannot disclose such information to third parties without the employee’s written consent. Furthermore, employers can no longer screen job applicants based on their current or prior wage histories as a condition of interviewing or employment, unless that information is a matter of public record under applicable law. While employees may freely disclose this information, employers cannot prompt them to do so nor can they ask about the wage history from an applicant’s prior employers. Employers may look at the internal wage history of someone already in their employ who is seeking a new position. The amendment operates on the logic that, because women have historically made less money than their male counterparts for similar occupations, restrictions on compensation information might help break the cycle of lower salaries for women.
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