Prior Salary No Longer Considered a Defense to Equal Pay Claims

According to the Employment Discrimination Report, last month (April 2018) the Ninth Circuit issued a decision that overturned decades of interpretation of the Equal Pay Act and held that prior salary history may not be considered by employers. Under the Equal Pay Act, it is illegal for employers to pay men and women different salaries for substantially similar work.  This action aligns with other jurisdictions that recently passed laws prohibiting employers from asking about prior salary history.  The stated reason for these laws is that it perpetuates prior gender pay discrimination. Although some language in the ruling may lead to a bit of confusion, the author suggests that based on this ruling, the safest course of action would be for employers within the Ninth Circuit to never ask about prior salary history. This case may have an impact on employers in all jurisdictions in the future.