Is It Illegal for a Prospective Employer to Verify Your Current Salary?


What information do you need to provide on a job application? For example, do you need to reveal your current salary? Is it illegal for a prospective employer to verify your current salary?

Private Financial Information

You divulge a lot of information on a job application. You might wonder about how much of it is really necessary. Haven’t you ever been asked questions about your previous or current salary before?

When you think about it, you can understand why the potential employer is asking the question. The company wants to determine how much they need to pay you. And, for all intents and purposes, they can legally ask you the question.

Companies have a lot of latitude during the job interview. While there might be some protections against discrimination, it can be very difficult to enforce. Of course, if you say “No” the company can simply not hire you. Therefore, many people give in.

Salary Verification

Prospective employers require you to list references and previous employers, so they can verify the information easily enough. You should expect the company to call these people.

And, there is an interesting dichotomy for companies. On one hand, companies like to stick together. They all must hire new employees, so they all want to talk to one another.

All of the human resources departments understand the challenges of their industry. So, they might provide the information.

Or, they might not provide the information. They might fear the repercussions if you found out that they were sharing your private financial information. They might not want other companies to know about their compensation packages.

Some companies will treat your salary information like a trade secret. It all depends on the company.

Polite Response

Most companies will verify whether you worked for them or not and the dates of employment. They figure this is a reasonable amount of information for a prospective employer.

You need to be polite throughout the entire job interview. Some recruiters will ask you challenging questions to see how you handle pressure. You can always dodge the question, if you want.

But, for many job recruiters, the financial information is not really an immediate concern. They are still deciding if you have the necessary skills. Therefore, they might not raise the question until the second interview or when they are about to offer you the job.

Be polite. You could actually put the ball in their court by asking – “Does this mean I have the job?” If they say “No,” then you can explain how that information might be more useful later in the hiring process.

During the job application process, you provide the prospective employer with a lot of information. Most of it is just skimmed until it becomes relevant. The same could be true for your previous salary information. You only need to divulge what you feel safe about divulging.