Construction companies hire people to perform work for the company in exchange for a salary. It’s at the heart of how every company works. In a competitive market where salaries often dictate whether a company lands a prized recruit or loses them to another employer, it’s only natural to wonder what the potential employee makes and what it would take to lure them to work for your company. This is particularly true in the construction industry, where a labor shortage is driving up salaries for all employees. Some governments are now taking this type of inquiry off the table though.
Many jurisdictions have either banned questions about what a recruit’s current salary is and others are giving it consideration. The theory behind the ban – which is disconnected from the policy in many respects – is that it will help close the salary gap for certain underrepresented groups. Specifically, the recent trend is targeted to address “wage discrimination” and the gender pay gap. Those pushing the laws insist that employers ask what a worker is presently making and use that to determine the amount they will offer. The problem is that such a rule disregards the fact that current salary rates reflect experience levels and whether someone is good at their job, among other things.
Delaware banned all employers from asking candidates about their salary history in December 2017. Both New York City and the City of Philadelphia banned the same question – but the Philadelphia law has been challenged in court by the Chamber of Commerce and has been temporarily blocked. Maryland is also considering such a law. Interestingly, there does not seem to be any prohibition on discussing it once it has been raised by the potential new hire.
If you live in any of the aforementioned jurisdictions (and these are not all of the jurisdictions where such a law is in place), beware that you are not permitted to ask about salary history in an interview or otherwise. If you violate the rule by inquiring, you may be facing an investigation and/or charge from the respective governmental body.
If you have any questions on this or other construction issues, please contact me at
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