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Sen. Rooney sponsors legislation to protect employee privacy and address gender wage gap

Taking steps to address the ongoing problem of gender-based pay disparity and protect employee privacy in Illinois, State Senator Tom Rooney (R-Rolling Meadows) is co-sponsoring Senate Bill 2333, legislation that would prohibit employers from asking potential employees about their salary history.

Employers asking for salary history is a major factor that contributes to women continuing to make less than men in the work place while performing the same job.

“Salaries should be awarded based on merit, experience, and what a new employee would bring to a company, not on the dollar value placed on an employee by another business,” said Sen. Rooney. “This legislation is about empowering employees to navigate the workforce knowing that they are being valued based on what they can bring to the table while also encouraging better pay practices from employers using market-based solutions.”  

Sen. Rooney asserts that allowing employers to inquire about prior salary history puts employees at an unfair disadvantage, giving potential employers a unique, one-sided knowledge base that can lead to undervaluing an employee simply based on a former employer’s predetermined price tag.  

“Prohibiting employers from using a previous salary isn’t about depriving a business of information. It’s about encouraging fairness in the workplace and allowing an employee’s work history, not wage history, speak for itself,” said Rooney.  “The basic economic logic of this proposal is the main reason why I was one of Senator Connelly's chief co-sponsors last year, and I'm proud to sign on again to this year's effort."

Senator Rooney says the bill is modeled after a law passed in Massachusetts in 2016 which bans requests for salary history, pushing instead for employers to award wages based on the relevant criteria of merit, seniority, production or level of education and enabling employers to use self-evaluation plans to monitor their pay practices.

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