by Rich Bellis
Originally published: August 4, 2016
You know the "employment history" section on most job applications? Of course you do. That’s where you typically wrestle with whether to lie about how much you made in past jobs in the hope of getting a fatter offer for this one.
By July 2018, though, Massachusetts job seekers will become the first in the nation to be free of that ethical and strategic struggle. On Monday, Republican governor Charlie Baker signed a bipartisan bill making it illegal for employers in the state to ask job applicants to disclose their wage or salary history. Among other things, the law also requires companies to pay men and women equally when they do "comparable" work, not just when they hold identical titles and job descriptions.
It’s an unprecedented step toward closing the gender pay gap—since women typically earn less than men, an employer that bases compensation on a candidate’s earning history is likely to (literally) shortchange her—at a time when states are picking up the slack on the issue from a deadlocked Congress. Most recently, California and New York enacted legislation to promote equal pay and salary transparency.