Revised Washington D.C. Wage Transparency Law Effective in June 2024

By: Bill Osterndorf

A revised version of the Washington, D.C. wage transparency law will become effective on June 30, 2024. The District has had a wage transparency law in effect since 2014The previous version of the law prohibited employers from taking action against an employee for discussing the employee’s wages or the wages of another employee. The revised version of the law greatly expands protections for employees and adds protections for applicants. 

Previous Wage Transparency Law 

The previous version of the Washington D.C. wage transparency law included the following provisions: 

  • Employers were not allowed to prevent employees from discussing their wages or the wages of other employees unless there was a specific exception to this prohibition 
  • Employers were prohibited from disciplining employees who discussed their wages or the wage of another employee 
  • Employers were not allowed to prevent employees from filing a complaint relating to the wage transparency law 

An employer could be fined $1,000 for the first violation of the law, $5,000 for a second violation, and $20,000 for any subsequent violation. 

New Prohibitions and Notice to Employees 

There are new prohibitions in the revised wage transparency law. Employers will be prohibited from: 

  • Asking prospective employees about wage history 
  • Requiring that a prospective employee’s wage history fits within a minimum or maximum salary 
  • Conditioning an interview on a prospective employee’s disclosure of wage history 
  • Seeking the wage history of a prospective employee from a previous employer 

The revised version of the wage transparency law also expands the prohibition on discussions about pay. The law substitutes the word “compensation” for “wages,” where compensation is defined as “all forms of monetary and nonmonetary benefits an employer provides or promises.”  Under this definition, employers may not prohibit the discussion of monetary wages, benefits, or other forms of compensation provided to employees.  

Under the revised version of the wage transparency law, employers will be required to post a notice regarding the rights of employees. The notice must be conspicuously posted in at least one location where employees assemble. 

Transparency in Job Listings 

The revised version of the wage transparency law also has requirements for job listings, including internal job listings. “All job listings and position descriptions advertised” must provide the minimum and maximum projected salary or hourly pay. The employer must also disclosure the existence of healthcare benefits that an employee may receive to prospective employees before a first interview. 

The law does not define “job listings or position descriptions advertised” and it does not speak to situations where a third party reposts a job listing. The law does say that wages disclosed for open positions should show “the lowest to the highest salary or hourly pay that the employer in good faith believes…it would pay for the advertised job, promotion, or transfer opportunity.” 

Employers Covered 

The revised version of the wage transparency law covers “an individual, firm, association, or corporation that employs at least one person” in Washington D.C. (The law excludes the federal government and D.C. government from its protections.)  It is not clear if the law’s protections are meant to cover only persons and position in Washington D.C. or all persons connected to an employer that has one employee in the District. 

Unless Congress vetoes the revised wage transparency law, employers should consider how they will implement the provisions of this law. Pay transparency laws have been adopted by various states and localities, often with provisions that are inconsistent with law adopted by other jurisdictions.

DCI will continue to monitor pay transparency laws to determine when changes are being made and what the ramifications will be for employers.

Bill Osterndorf

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