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Business & Economy

Columbus officials to consider banning employers from requesting job applicants' salary history

Columbus City Hall
David Holm

Employers in Columbus could be banned from asking for salary history and running credit checks on job applicants, unless the credit check is required because of the type of position.

In cities and states where employers are barred from asking job applicants for their salary history, workers see their pay rise by 4%, said legislative analyst Kirsten Estose at a recent briefing on the topic. That goes up to 6% for women and people of color. “So, it's something that is effective and can make a difference in the wage gap. It's not going to fix all of the issues. And we know that there's much more than a 6% gap between women and men in the United States, but it's something and something we think is worthwhile to move forward with in Columbus,” Estose said.

The city is also expected to consider legislation that would only allow employers to conduct credit checks on job applicants for positions that require that type of vetting, such as network security or positions involving fiduciary responsibility. "If any other laws require that someone were to have a credit check to be hired, then obviously, we would defer to that federal or state regulation," Estose said.

Estose said that move would protect people with lower credit scores from being discriminated against.

Estose also said lower credit scores disproportionately impact women and people of color, "because of historical inequities, and because of predatory lending practices and a number of historical things that have influenced the credit system."

"And ultimately, credit checks were designed to help a lender make a lending decision, not an employer to make an employment decision. And so they are just skewed in a way that is really not helpful to the workforce," Estose said.

The city is expected to hold public hearings on the proposed legislation in March.

Business & Economy
Renee Fox is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News.