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Do I have to list wage or salary information in a job posting?

Whether or not employers need to disclose pay information depends on both their location and the location of their prospective employee. California recently passed a law requiring employers with 15 or more employees to disclose salary ranges when posting a job ad. In Colorado, under a law that went into effect in 2021, job postings must include the targeted pay range. This law, however, doesn't only apply to companies in Colorado, it applies to any company hiring a resident of Colorado, even for remote work. These laws, which were intended to help close the gender pay gap, require employers to disclose hourly rate or compensation, bonuses or commissions, and a description of benefits. Companies that do not comply with the Equal Pay Transparency Rules are subject to fines of between $500 and $10,000 per violation. 

Instead of disclosing pay information, some companies are choosing to exclude Colorado workers from the applicant pool. A simple search on a widely-used job site will bring up hundreds of remote job descriptions that contain language specifying that the employee cannot perform the job from Colorado. Although some companies are avoiding these requirements by excluding Colorado residents, this tactic will not be effective for long. Several other states are looking to pass similar salary transparency laws, including Rhode Island, Maryland, Washington, Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts.

Companies can consult with an attorney to get more detailed information about the laws and ensure they comply with Colorado's EPEWA and other states' job listing requirements.

Can I limit applicants to a certain region or state?

It is quite common for companies to limit remote applicants based on location. Remote job listings often include a preference for being in a geographic region due to a whole host of reasons, such as tax requirements, clients, meetings, labor laws, travel, certifications, and time zones. For example, many city and state government jobs require applicants to live within the state or relocate there within a certain time frame.

Federal laws protect against discrimination based on certain classes—sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, mental and physical disabilities, citizenship status, ancestry, and age. Where a person resides is not a protected class under the U.S. Constitution. In every state but Montana, employment relationships are "at-will," so an employee can be terminated if they do not comply with employer requirements, such as where to live.

While some companies have been criticized for excluding residents from a certain state for remote jobs, it is not illegal for an employer to require that workers live within a certain geographic area or exclude employees for geographic reasons.

How do I set expected wages or salary for a position or job?

Usually, employers decide how much they want to pay their employees and then set salary ranges for positions. The salary for the position would contain a minimum pay rate, middle-range possibilities for salary raises, and the maximum rate. Companies may want to look at the following when setting pay rates for a specific position:

  • Third-party groups to help determine the appropriate salary range for people doing similar work in similar regions and industries.
  • Market data and wage research.
  • Their budget.
  • Fair compensation for the role.
  • Specific requirements for the position, including years of experience, education, and special skills.
  • How much money the employee can make for the company (if the company is for-profit).

The legal requirements for job postings under federal law prohibit discrimination or favoritism based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the agency charged with ensuring that employers do not discriminate against these protected classes. Some exceptions do exist, however, under the EEOC's Bona fide occupational qualification guidelines, which list certain rare circumstances where a job posting may discriminate based on factors such as physical, age, or religious requirements.

Job posting requirements may also vary slightly from state to state. In addition to the states we previously mentioned with salary disclosure laws in place or in the works, other states like Nevada and California require salary disclosure after an applicant interviews and requests the information.

For more information about ensuring compliance with labor laws and salary transparency requirements, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney for affordable legal advice.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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