How a New Ban on Asking About Salary History Could Help (and Hurt) Women

January 18, 2018Media Mention
The Hollywood Reporter

A new California law that bans employers from asking potential hires about their salary history is meant to be a step toward closing the gender pay gap — but many Hollywood reps feel the legislation will complicate negotiations and could impede that goal.

Female execs seeking to make a move seem the most likely to benefit. If a lower starting salary and fewer raises than male counterparts have deflated a woman's earnings, the law offers a clean slate on which she can negotiate. "It might mean that somebody wanting to hire an executive is going to be willing to pay what they think she is worth," not simply what she's been paid, says Lichter.

But Wendy Lane, head of Greenberg Glusker's labor and employment group, adds that the law alone may not be enough to change behavior in negotiations. "Men, according to many studies, historically have been more comfortable in asserting themselves and demanding a higher salary," she says. "Only time will tell whether the new law will give women more confidence to ask for what they feel is fair rather than feeling constrained by their past salary."

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