Seattle has one of the worst gender pay gaps in the country.
Seattle has one of the worst gender pay gaps in the country. HG

Mayoral candidate Cary Moon introduced a plan to help close Seattle's gender and race pay gap by banning employers from screening job applicants based on salary history or asking applicants or their former bosses about how much they made in past jobs.

Efforts to bar employers from asking about past pay, including a model plan in Oregon, are designed to stop the cycle of pay inequity. (Basically: If you're part of a group that traditionally makes less than white men and your employers consistently base your pay off what you've been paid in the past, how are you ever supposed to catch up?) One woman in California sued her employer under the federal Equal Pay Act after finding out that she was paid less than a male counterpart because her pay was based on her past salary. She lost.

Moon's proposal comes as part of a week of unveiling her labor platform, including proposals for new protections for domestic workers and freelancers.

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In today's announcement, Moon says she also wants Seattle to begin collecting anonymized pay data (including information about pay by sex, race, and ethnicity) from large employers. The Obama administration ordered such collection, but the Trump administration rolled it back. The third part of Moon's pay equity plan promises to propose city legislation modeled off a state legislative effort to strengthen protections against unequal pay.

Women in King County make just 79 cents on the dollar compared to men, according to a recent report from the Women's Funding Alliance and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Both men and women of color make less than their white counterparts. While the average annual income for a white man in King County is $75,100, it's just $44,000 for black men and $35,600 for Hispanic men. Women in all categories make less. While white women make an average of $55,100, black women make $39,300, Native American women make $36,600, and Hispanic women make $33,000.

"It’s City Hall’s responsibility to do everything it can, particularly in the shadow of the Trump Administration’s rollbacks, to ensure people of color and women are guaranteed pay and workplace equality," Moon said in a statement.