Can a public-sector employer ask for information about a prospective employee's previous salary? Can they base their offer to the employee on that information? Can the offer be below the advertised salary range?

  • OK thank you. Does the range of salary advertised not matter in this case?
    – The dude
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 0:32
  • 2
    TheDude: Note again that this question boils down to, "Is this OK?" Here's a single answer that may apply to all your questions: Nothing is illegal unless it violates a law. Now: Asking whether a law exists is generally a bad question because it's very hard to prove that a law doesn't exist in whatever jurisdiction you might be referencing.
    – feetwet
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 0:34
  • @Thedude I shouldn't have said "good question" but "better" question. I agree with feetwet's critique of the pattern in your questions.
    – user3851
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 0:38
  • I apologize folks. I'll keep them more general from now. What about the one with the dog and the fence? law.stackexchange.com/questions/8034/…
    – The dude
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 0:39
  • You ask whether they can ask for the information. They almost certainly can. But the next question is, can you refuse it? You can certainly try: "I'm sorry, they made me sign a non-disclosure agreement on that, but you could write to them and ask". Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 17:10

1 Answer 1


Seeing as you haven't given any jurisdiction or any industry, I'll just answer with the common law answer: yes.

An employer is at liberty to ask for any information as long as they are not prevented from doing so by law.

They are entitled to use any information at their disposal to calculate a salary offer.

Employment contracts almost always include an "entire agreement" clause, meaning that the advertised salary means precisely nothing.

  • Going a bit further, the advert is not the offer. Hence the offeror's ability to offer less.
    – jqning
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 2:48
  • Obviously the prospective employee is also allowed to ask for more money. Or to not tell the new employer what the old salary is.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 10:31

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