Wilt Toikka Kraft LLP


New Transparency in Pay and Wage History in Washington, DC

On January 12, 2023, Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser, in conjunction with insights from DC employment lawyers, officially enacted the Wage Transparency Omnibus Amendment Act of 2023. This significant legislation introduces amendments to the DC Wage Transparency Act of 2014 and is slated to become effective on June 30, pending the mandatory 30-day congressional review.

The Act holds sway over all employers with at least one employee in the District, excluding the DC and federal governments, bringing about notable changes. DC employment lawyers emphasize that employers must now incorporate “the minimum and maximum projected salary or hourly pay” in all job listings and position descriptions. The specified range should extend “from the lowest to the highest salary or hourly pay that the employer, in good faith, believes at the time of the posting it would pay for the advertised job, promotion, or transfer opportunity.” Notably, this requirement spans both internal and external job postings.

In a departure from some other pay transparency laws, the Act mandates that employers, as advised by DC employment lawyers, disclose the existence of health care benefits to prospective employees before the first interview.

Crucially, the Act prohibits employers from screening prospective employees based on their wage history. This includes any attempts to set criteria based on wage history or to request such information as a condition of an interview or continued consideration for employment. Employers are also barred from seeking wage history from previous employers, with “wage history” encompassing “all forms of monetary and nonmonetary benefits an employer provides or promises to provide an employee in exchange for the employee’s services to the employer.”

To ensure compliance, employers are now obligated to prominently display a notice in their workplace, providing employees with information about their rights under this Act. This notice should be posted conspicuously in at least one location where employees regularly gather, a key point emphasized by DC employment lawyers.

The enforcement of the Act falls under the purview of the DC Attorney General, granting them the authority to investigate violations and initiate civil actions against non-compliant employers. Remedies may include restitution, injunctive relief, compensatory relief, or other authorized measures for individuals or the public at large. In successful cases, the Attorney General is entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs, and statutory penalties.

This move aligns Washington, DC with other states that have recently enacted pay transparency measures, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington. DC employers are advised by employment lawyers to proactively prepare for compliance by ensuring their job postings provide the required information. Additionally, training recruiters and interviewers about the prohibition on seeking wage histories of applicants is crucial in navigating the legal landscape introduced by this groundbreaking legislation.

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