Kansas City Makes it Illegal for Employers to Ask About Salary History

Later this year, it will be illegal for employers in Kansas City, Missouri to ask job candidates about their salary histories. The new ordinance, effective Oct. 31, aims to eliminate the gender pay gap. Proponents of the new measure say that when employers rely on salary histories to set salaries for new employees, it results in employers continuing to underpay women.

“This a great step forward for pay equity that strengthens Kansas City’s position as a national leader in promoting equity and opportunity for all,” Wendy Doyle, Women’s Foundation President & CEO, said. “Women in Kansas City make just 79 cents for every dollar made by men – while women of color face even wider pay gaps, which can follow them throughout their careers. No woman should be denied equal pay for equal work just because her last job paid her less than her male colleagues.

The ordinance unanimously passed the City Council and was sponsored by Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner. According to the Kansas City Star, Wager said the measure will lead to salaries based on market demand and skill, not salary history.

The new law will make it illegal for an employer to ask about salary history, screen applicants based on salary history, rely on salary history when deciding whether to offer employment and refuse to hire someone for not disclosing their salary history. Violators of the new ordinance will be subject to a fine up to $500 or 180 days in jail.