RENO, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — Nevada's new pay transparency and equity law takes effect Friday. It follows a chorus of other states and municipalities across the nation enacting similar laws.
The new Silver State law affects job seekers and employers in two ways.
First, employers can no longer ask for an applicant's salary history.
Even if a prospective employee voluntarily discloses their former earnings, Nevada employers cannot use that to determine whether or not to hire someone or what their pay rate will be.
"A lot of times, an employee's prior salary will set the bar for what their salary is for their new position," said Maria Papasevastos. "So the legislature felt that by not allowing employers to ask that prior salary information, they are kind of starting a new slate to not continue a prior inequity and pay."
Papasevastos is an attorney with Seyfarth Shaw Law Firm in New York City and has done a lot of work on the wage disclosure laws around the country.
The second part of the new law requires pay transparency and the disclosure of what the rate, wage or salary range will be.
"For applicants, the law requires employers to affirmatively provide the wage or salary range or rate for the position that the applicant applies for once the applicant completes an interview for the position," said Papasevastos.
This applies for new applicants or someone interviewing for a transfer or promotion within the company. After a candidate interview is conducted, employers must proactively disclose the pay.
The law, SB 293, applies to private employers, staffing firms, state, county, and local governmental agencies.
Papasevastos said it's on the employers to implement procedures to comply with the new law.
According to SB 293, employers face administrative penalties and fines up to $5,000 for each violation.
The Nevada Labor Commissioner's office said they've been holding training and informational seminars for both employers and employees about the new laws taking effect October 1, 2021.
"Our office has received very few questions about Senate Bill 293 up to this point," said Teri Williams, spokesperson for the Office of the Labor Commissioner. "Our office expects that employers will comply with the new law, and it is our experience that most employers are already doing this. If there are claims/complaints submitted to our office, we will investigate. We will issue the right to sue notice in accordance with the provisions of Senate Bill 293."
Several other state such as California, Colorado, Maryland, Washington, Rhode Island and Connecticut have implemented similar laws. Connecticut's law also takes effect October 1.
The municipalities of Toledo and Cincinnati have also enacted pay equity laws. Other states are considering the same.
Colorado's law is perhaps the most stringent on the books, requiring employers to list the pay scale on the job posting without prompt.
There could be some unintended consequences to these laws.
Papasevastos noted some employer postings would state, "Colorado applicants need not apply," in order to avoid the law in that state; but recent guidance out of Colorado now restricts that practice.
She said similar ramifications could occur in Nevada such as organizations deciding not to do business in the state to avoid the new law, but she doesn't expect that to happen.
"I think a lot of employers are interested in making sure that they are paying their employees equitably. And so hopefully it's something that employers are doing anyway and interested in doing. And have the best intentions to do as well."
SB 293 was signed by Governor Sisolak earlier this summer at the conclusion of the 81st Legislative Session.
Contact reporter Brett Forrest at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @brettforrest89 on Twitter or @brettforrestKRNV on Facebook.