Columbus Employers Prepare for Salary History Ban Enacted by City Council


Under a new city ordinance set to take effect on March 1, 2024, businesses in the City of Columbus are bracing for significant adjustments to their hiring practices. The ordinance prohibits employers from asking prospective employees about their previous salary or hourly rate, aiming to foster fairer hiring practices and address disparities in pay. This move, driven by the goal of closing the wage gap, marks a significant shift in the landscape of employment in Columbus.

The ordinance dictates that employers cannot inquire about an applicant's salary history, screen applicants based on prior wages, or base employment offers solely on salary history. Additionally, retaliation against applicants for refusing to disclose salary history is prohibited. Employers are urged to review their hiring processes and applications to ensure compliance with the new regulations, which include exceptions for internal transfers, rehires within three years, and positions under collective bargaining agreements.

Enforcement of the ordinance falls under the jurisdiction of the City's Community Relations Commission, tasked with investigating allegations of violations. Penalties for non-compliance range from fines of $1,000 for a first offense to $5,000 for third violations within a five-year period. While the immediate impact of the ordinance may require adjustments for employers, its long-term implications promise a fairer and more equitable job market in Columbus. Business owners are encouraged to proactively adapt to these changes to ensure compliance and uphold principles of fairness in their hiring practices.