A new law prohibits Illinois employers from asking job applicants about their salary history and other compensation information under the Illinois Equal Pay Act.

Illinois employers are also prohibited from requiring employees to sign a contract or waiver prohibiting them from discussing wage and benefit information.

Unless specific exceptions apply, violations can result in civil action and penalties of $5,000 per instance.


On July 31, 2019 Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law a bill that bans employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. The new law, which takes effect on September 29, 2019, also ensures that employees can discuss their salary, benefits, or other compensation with colleagues, a practice that some employers prohibit or discourage.  


H.B. 834 makes it unlawful for employers, employment agencies, or their employees or agents to:  

Screen job applicants based on their current or prior wages or salary histories, including benefits or other compensation, by requiring that the wage or salary history of an applicant satisfy minimum or maximum criteria.  

Request or require a wage or salary history as a condition of being considered for employment, as a condition of being interviewed, as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment, or as a condition of an offer of employment or an offer of compensation.  

Request or require an applicant to disclose wage or salary history as a condition of employment. 

Employers also may not seek the wage or salary history, including benefits or other compensation, of a job applicant from any current or former employer.  

Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against employees who fail to comply with a wage or salary history inquiry.  

Additionally, employers may no longer require an employee to sign a contract or waiver prohibiting the employee from disclosing or discussing information about the employee’s wages, salary, benefits, or other compensation.  

Employers violating these prohibitions are subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 for each violation for each employee affected. An employee may bring a civil action against the employer for violation of the provisions under the amended Illinois Equal Pay Act.


This prohibition does not apply if the applicant’s wage or salary history has been made public or the job applicant is a current employee applying for a position with the same current employer. 

Employers are not barred from providing information about the wages, benefits, compensation, or salary offered in relation to a position. In addition, they are not prohibited from engaging in discussions with an applicant about the applicant’s expectations with respect to wage or salary, benefits, and other compensation.  

Employers do not violate the salary inquiry prohibitions when a job applicant voluntarily and without prompting discloses current or prior wage or salary history, including benefits or other compensation, provided the employer does not consider that information when determining whether to offer a job applicant employment or how much to offer in compensation.

Employers may prohibit an HR employee, supervisor, or any other employee whose job responsibilities require or allow access to other employees’ wage or salary information, from disclosing that information without prior written consent from the employee whose information is sought.

Thank you for choosing Paylocity as your Payroll Tax and Human Capital management partner.

This information is provided as a courtesy, may change and is not intended as legal or tax guidance. Employers with questions or concerns outside the scope of a Payroll Service Provider are encouraged to seek the advice of a qualified CPA, Tax Attorney or Advisor.