This month, New York City joined Philadelphia and Massachusetts in passing legislation that will ban employers from asking job applicants about their salary history, in an attempt to narrow the wage gap between women and men.

More than 20 other cities and states — including San Francisco and California — have similar legislation in the works. The goal is to prevent gender discrimination from being passed from one workplace to the next by basing an employee’s pay on his or her prior salary.

Employer advocates say that if you ban the salary question, “How do I know whether I have a real candidate or not? If I have a job I want to pay $75,000 for, and that person is making $125,000, why should I waste my time?” said Steven Suflas, an employment attorney with Ballard Spahr.

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