The Republican-led state Senate voted along party lines Thursday to prohibit municipalities from regulating what information employers must request, require or exclude during job interviews — a backlash against some bans on salary history questions in other parts of the country.
State law already prohibits local rules on what information is required or excluded in job applications. But business groups say the legislation is needed to head off any future efforts to restrict the interview process itself, even if no local governments in Michigan are currently considering such ordinances.
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Massachusetts, New York City and Philadelphia have passed laws blocking employers from asking applicants about wage history in interviews or on applications. Supporters say the bans are one way to help close the wage gap between men and women.
The bill won approval 27-9, with every Republican in support and every Democrat opposed. It was sent to the GOP-controlled House for consideration next.
No senator spoke about the bill before the vote Thursday. In committee testimony in June, groups such as the National Federation of Independent Business said labor laws are the purview of the state and federal governments, and "local micro-management of the hiring process is particularly egregious to small business and employers."
Organizations opposing the legislation said it would cause unintended consequences by hurting efforts to pass sensible "fair chance" policies designed to help offenders get jobs after their incarceration and not commit new crimes. Many private employers have strict policies against hiring people with criminal records.
If the state is not going to consider limiting how and when applicants can be questioned about their criminal history, "it should be done at the local level," said Kimberly Buddin, policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.
Senate Bill 353: http://bit.ly/2y4eUhe
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