Job fair

Jasmine Thomas discusses job opportunities with an Aramark representative at the 13th annual Neighborhood Job Fair at Temple University. — Photo by Brad Larrison for WHYY

People seeking jobs in New Jersey will no longer be required to divulge their salary history during the application process.

A new state law signed Thursday also blocks employers from disqualifying applicants based on their past pay.

“Often the question comes before the interview is over: What did you make at your last job?” said Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who signed the bill while Gov. Phil Murphy was on vacation. “The asking of that question is discriminatory in nature.”

Social justice advocates said employers often use salary history to lowball applicants, especially women and people of color.

“That is a powerful remedy to an injustice that has had profound and cumulative effects that have made it harder for women and people of color to own homes, send their kids to college or summer camp, use high-quality day care, finish their college degree, or pay off their student loans,” said Dena Mottola Jaborska, associate director of New Jersey Citizen Action.

Employers will still be able to use salary history to determine a new hire’s pay, but only if the applicant hands over the information voluntarily.

The law takes effect in about six months.

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