Can I lie about my current salary to a potential employer?

I live in the state of California, and work for a large corporation. Can you tell me whether the law prevents my current employer from revealing my current salary information?


Wow, lots of responses. Lots of conflicting info.

Well, to those of you who judged me for my question, I hope you got a nice warm self-righteous glow. I'm sure you've never lied about anything. Nice halo, by the way.

And to everyone else, thanks for your feedback, and for resisting the urge to be a superior ******. Really :)

29 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best answer

    The only thing your current or former employer can say about you is whether or not they would rehire you. They can be held liable for anything said other than that.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    We ask this for 2 reasons: 1. To see if your current salary is in the range of what we could offer you if we considered you for the position we are hiring for. 2. To use this as a guideline as to what kind of salary expectations you would have if we consider you for the job. Obviously someone would not want to take a job that pays them less than they were making before. Please do not take the advise of others posting answers and lie about the amount you make. This is fraud, and if it is found out when the background check is done (which we always verify salary) then the job offer should be taken back from you for making a false statement. Read the last part of the job application where you state that all the information you have given is truthful, and you understand an offer can be withdrawn if it is not. And, personally, if someone does not include it with a resume when we ask for it, I will normally put that resume in the "get back to it later" if there are not better qualified people who come through.

  • 1 decade ago

    I can see why you would want to lie, 'cause they will try to get you hired for as little as possible. However lying will only bite you in the a** if you eventually get hired. Also I'm pretty sure your current salary can be gotten from your credit report. So lying about it won't help.

    Here's a suggestion. When you get to the point where an offer is made to you, ask what the range for the position is. Of course they won't want you to know, but you're gonna be able to find out if they hire you. If they want to know why you ask you can tell them you are considering a couple of opportunities and you are trying to gage which one is best for you (not necessarily a lie). If this becomes an issue you have to ask yourself how badly you want that particular job. You can always make a counteroffer if you are not satisfied with the original offer, or ask for a sign on bonus, or some other form of compensation. There's better information out there for you than asking here. Sorry I can't be of more assistance with this answer.

    Don't worry about the haters. You're trying to do what's best for you. Anyone that can talk has lied or thought about lying at some point!

    Good luck with your job search. I'd be interested in knowing how it turned out.

  • 1 decade ago

    You can request that because you already have employment, you don't want them to contact them. So you don't get in any trouble from your current employer if they find out your looking around. Tell them you really like where you work now, they just aren't offering the type of growth you would like to see for yourself. So to be true to yourself you needed to see what else might be available. This works, I have done this before. Especially when the new job has a high and low pay ceiling. This let's them know you don't really NEED their job, but are interested in the opportunities it can afford you. They will NOT contact your current employer so not to get you in trouble.

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  • 1 decade ago

    From what I have learned after my lay off three years ago - we went to a displacement seminar - you should never tell a potential employer how much your current / last salary was. Also, companies are only allowed to verify if (a) you worked there, the years you worked there (b) your position. They are not permitted to reveal salary.

  • 1 decade ago

    I believe they can answer a yes/no question from a potential employer.

    They cannot answer "How much did Heidi14 make annually?"

    But they can say "Did Heidi14 make $100 per hour?"

    They can verify dates of employment, title, and salary but all in a yes/no format. The inquirer has to list the stats and the responder need only answer if the question is true or false.

    They cannot give commentary like would you rehire this person, but they can ask, is this person eligible for rehire. There are strict wording issues and feedback guidelines about references.

  • Bob
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    When the employer calls your place of current/previous employment, that is one of the most often asked questions. That piece of information is not protected and is also asked by banks preparing to loan you money, credit card companies, etc.

    Lying about it won't work.

  • 1 decade ago

    its not illegal to lie about your salary. it isnt ethical though so you may want to be careful on what salary you tell. consider what is the mean average of your profession . if you say your 20 percent above that- you may have to justify it. especially if you are leaving that job for a parellel position in their company. like all negotiations - if you lie dont you ever - ver forget what the truth is and where the lie was placed. good luck on your interview!

  • 1 decade ago

    Never lie about anything. It will come back to haunt you. If the new employer wishes, he can get info on current wages from a number of sources: state tax, local tax, IRS, Social Security.

  • BDZot
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Lying on your application/resume/interview would be grounds for termination. So, whether it's legal or not, if you lie and get caught, you're history.

    However....the practical side of the equation is that most companies refuse to give out any information beyond that you worked for them during a a given period. Hell, the company i work for won't even give out job titles.

    So, if you're gonna lie, you can. You just have to ask yourself: Are the consequences of lying worth it?

  • 1 decade ago

    Law may prevent it but you will be signing a paper for background checks that include your present employer. If they find that you lied, your application will go into the round file.

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