I have recently become aware of a new California law (effective Janaury 2018) which prevents employers from requesting salary history to potential hiring candidates: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB168

However, a very large Silicon Valley-based company with a branch in Japan is indeed requesting this information for a position based in Japan (prior to an offer of course).

I am confused about if this law would apply to the company even in Japan.

All I have been able to find out is that the Japan branch is a "100%-owned subsidiary" of the California-based HQ, and even with that information I am not sure how the law applies.

(If it's relevant, this question would apply to an applicant that is a U.S. Citizen/California non-resident and currently files both California State tax and Federal income tax, and the previous company worked at would be a Japan-based one.)

1 Answer 1


Neither the United States nor California have jurisdiction in Japan. Their laws do not apply.

Japanese laws apply to the Japanese company advertising the Japanese position, when in Japan.

Japan does not appear to have a law banning or restricting requests for previous salary, and they seem common enough that job seekers should prepare this in advance. This request is entirely legitimate.

  • Thanks for your response. I have one naggle about this answer though. What you are saying would be true if it was a "Japanese company" as you state. However this company is definitely an American company based in California and simply has a branch in Japan. My question is if the law still does not apply in that case.
    – user15679
    Feb 19, 2018 at 9:07
  • 1
    @user15679 No. It is a Japanese company that has a single shareholder. That shareholder is the American company (that is what "100%-owned subsidiary" means). Feb 19, 2018 at 9:10
  • @MartinBonner That clarifies my question. Thank you
    – user15679
    Feb 19, 2018 at 9:12
  • 1
    The Japan branch is a Japanese company whose only link to the USA/California company is ownership. That's what being a subsidiary means.
    – user4657
    Feb 19, 2018 at 9:12

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