Cincinnati City Council passed its new Salary Equity Ordinance on March 13 with a vote of 6-2. It's set to go into effect in March of 2020. Once it does, all employers will be prohibited from asking prospective employees for a salary history when they respond to job ads, on applications and during interviews.
A ban like the one passed in Cincinnati is fairly unique. So far, lawmakers in only 11 states have made it illegal for prospective employees to be asked for their salary histories. Only 11 counties or cities have moved forward in passing similar types of legislation themselves.
When asked why she passed the legislation, one Cincinnati City Council member noted that there's extreme poverty here in this city. She noted that she's found that many of these residents are poor because they don't bring in enough money when they do work.
She says that she's found that everyone benefits when all workers make more. She points out with the passing of this ordinance, individuals are going to earn what they qualify for and deserve instead of what they formally made. Other proponents argue that the passing of this ordinance will pave the way for wage equity.
During a Feb. 12 meeting of the City Council's Equity, Inclusion, Youth & the Arts Committee, a representative with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber expressed concern that the ordinance would ultimately be overturned by a federal judge.
This has happened previously in Philadelphia. It's there that employers can now ask for a prospective employee's salary history but are prohibited from letting that impact what they decide to pay them.
Others who opposed the ordinance expressed concern over how it may impact small Ohio businesses. They noted that with so little manpower to provide regulatory oversight, they may struggle to comply with the rule.
Come March of next year, any Cincinnati employer that has 15 or more workers will have to abide by the city's Salary Equity Ordinance. If they don't, then prospective employees will gain the right to sue any employers who they believe have violated it.
Over the next year, it's imperative that Cincinnati employers make themselves aware of the ordinance and what it prohibits. An attorney can help you understand whether this ordinance applies to you and if so, advise you how to make sure that you remain in compliance to avoid being sued.