A proposed New Jersey law would give job seekers an upper hand during the interview process.

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Introduced on Thursday, legislation from Democratic Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt bars employers from asking job applicants about their salary history.

"Young women are often offered a lesser salary than their male counterparts, and this inequity will follow them for the rest of their career," Lampitt said in a press release. "My legislation will force companies to evaluate new hires based on their skills and experience, not what they made in a previous position."

The bill is also aimed at fairer pay levels for young adults entering the workforce.

According to Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute in Princeton, prior salary is a commonly covered topic during job interviews. Banning it, he said, could result in higher pay for many job hunters.

"An employer knows how much they're willing to pay, and the reason they offer you less is because they know you're making less than that now," Maltby told New Jersey 101.5. "If the employer didn't know much you were making, they'd have to offer you what they think the job is really worth. Maybe they'd offer you a little bit less for negotiating room."

Without some intervention such as this legislation, Maltby added, wage gaps will never cease to exist.

Michael Egenton, executive vice president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, said his group still needs to look through the specific language of Lampitt's bill, but they typically have concerns over mandates on the employer community.

Employers consider several factors in their quest to arrive at the right applicant for a position, Egenton, and that could include salary history.

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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