A new Minnesota law banning employers from asking for applicants’ pay history went into effect at the beginning of 2024. All Minnesota employers are now prohibited from requesting or requiring job applicants – including internal hires – to disclose their compensation history. While employers may still access an applicant’s compensation history if the information is a matter of public record, the new law prohibits employers from doing so with the intent of using the information to set the employee’s compensation. Additionally, if an applicant voluntarily discloses prior compensation to a prospective employer, the employer may only consider the information if it supports greater compensation than what the employer initially offered.

With this law, Minnesota joins the District of Columbia and seventeen other states that have adopted similar provisions, notably including Illinois, New Jersey, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington. A few large cities have also passed ordinances prohibiting employers from inquiring about pay history. These include San Francisco, New York City, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Cincinnati, and Columbus.

Employers should take steps to ensure compliance with Minnesota’s new law, including revising application and interview materials to remove questions about prior compensation. Organizations should also communicate this prohibition to all personnel involved in hiring. Employers are still allowed to inquire about a candidate’s salary expectations so long as they do not ask about past or current compensation.

Relatedly, Minnesota employers are already prohibited from taking any adverse action against an employee for sharing information about his/her own wages or discussing another employee’s wages which have been voluntarily shared. Minnesota law requires employers who use employee handbooks to include in the handbook a notice of employees’ rights under this statute.

Employers who have questions about Minnesota employment law as it relates to pay transparency should contact a Larkin Hoffman attorney.