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| 1 minute read

Columbus Bans Inquiries into Job Applicants' Salary History

Joining its in-state neighbors, effective March 1, the Columbus City Council has enacted a prohibition limiting certain employers' ability to inquire into a job applicant's salary history. Toledo and Cincinnati adopted similar bans in 2019. 

Under the new ordinance, employers with 15 or more employees are now prohibited from asking job candidates about the salaries they received at prior positions. This new prohibition applies to any position to be performed within Columbus or which will “will be solicited, received, processed, or considered in the City of Columbus.” Nor can employers screen applicants based on their salary history, rely on such data in making employment decisions, or refuse to hire or retaliate against any applicant who refuses to share such information.

Aggrieved applicants may file complaints with the Columbus Community Relations Commission. Employers that violate the ordinance face potential fines of $1,000 for first-time offenses, along with fines of $2,500 and $5,000 for subsequent offenses. 

Employers are not prohibited from discussing compensation and benefits expectations with applicants and, unlike the measures adopted in Cincinnati and Toledo, are not required to provide a salary range upon request after a conditional offer of employment has been made. 

Bans on salary history, in addition to pay disclosure legislation, have been a hot topic across the country with states like Illinois and Hawaii adopting such measures in the past year, along with local governments in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

With this new law in effect in Columbus, and such laws continuing to roll out across the country, employers should consider reviewing their job postings, updating their internal policies and procedures, and training their hiring and recruiting teams to ensure compliance with these new laws and obligations. 


compensation, labor & employment