Hands Off the Interview Process: Chamber Supports Bill to Restrict Meddling by Local Governments

October 8, 2017

Legislation championed by the Michigan Chamber passed the State Senate last week to prohibit local units of government from passing laws to restrict what private sector employers can ask in the interview process. This legislation is being pursued after several large cities, including Philadelphia and New York City, passed ordinances prohibiting employers from asking an interviewee about his or her salary history. 

Senate Bill 353 (Sen. Proos, R-St. Joseph) would expand Michigan’s local preemption legislation, which was pursued by the Chamber and passed into law in 2015. This legislation specified that local units of government cannot adopt aggressive new laws or ordinances governing employers’ relations with their employees, things like local minimum wage, paid sick leave or other workplace or HR mandates. The Senate-passed proposal would clarify that local governments cannot restrict what employers can ask in the interview process (beyond existing state and federal laws).  It is consistent with the intent of the 2015 law. 

Under existing laws, there are multiple layers of protections for employees in the interview process, including those found in the Michigan Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act, the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act, the federal Civil Rights Act, the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the federal Age Discrimination Act, as well as the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These laws either outright ban certain questions from being asked on a job application or in the interview process or specify that an employer must be able to demonstrate a job-related necessity for asking a question.

The Michigan Chamber supports SB 353 because it would guarantee that these issues continue to be regulated at the state or federal level, creating one law for all businesses to comply. This legislation makes good sense. We will be urging the Michigan House to follow the Senate’s lead and pass the bill

For more information, of if you have any questions, please contact Wendy Block at wblock@michamber.com or (517) 371-7678.