The nationwide growth of the “gig economy” has provoked the enactment of laws aimed at providing economic protection to freelance workers. In May 2023, the Columbus City Council joined this national trend by amending the City’s “wage theft” Ordinance to add obligations upon a “hiring party” that engages a “freelance worker.”
The Ordinance broadly defines a “hiring party” to be “any person, including the City of Columbus, who retains a freelance worker to provide any service” and excludes only governmental entities other than Columbus. A “freelance worker” is an individual, whether or not the person has incorporated or is using a trade name.
Columbus has joined Toledo, Cincinnati, and a number of states and locales around the country, in banning employers from asking job applicants about their salary history.
Effective March 1, 2024, covered employers in Ohio’s capital will be prohibited from:
- inquiring about an applicant’s salary history,
- screening applicants based on their salary history,
- relying solely on salary history when deciding whether to offer an applicant employment or determining their compensation, and
- retaliating against applicants for not disclosing their salary history.
Currently, neither the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) nor the Equal Pay Act (EPA) prohibit employers from screening applicants based on prior salary, requesting an applicant’s salary history, or conditioning an applicant’s employment on providing their salary history. However, salary history bans, which are intended to eliminate the perpetuation of discriminatory pay disparities, have become increasingly common both at the state and local level. As of April 2023, more than 40 states and localities have adopted some form a salary history ban.
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