Worker Has Their Job Interview Canceled When They Refuse To Disclose Their Current Salary

It was legal, but was it ethical?

woman smiling during job interview Mangostar / Shutterstock

Job interviewers typically ask some pretty invasive questions. But, there are some things that should just stay private. 

One worker faced this reality head-on when she was asked what her salary was at the job she was planning to leave.

A worker refused to share what her current salary was, and had her job interview canceled as a result.

In an anonymous Reddit post, an employee in search of a new job posted screenshots of emails between herself and an interviewer.


In the first email, the interviewer simply confirmed the interview they had scheduled. “I’m confirming your interview at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday at our [redacted] office,” they said.

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The interviewer also explained that employees from HR, PG, and a manager would be present for the interview.

The employee then thanked the interviewer, sounding optimistic. “I am looking forward to meeting everyone tomorrow!” she said.

That was when things got interesting or, as the interviewer put it, “awkward.”

“Would you mind telling me what you’re making (salary)?” they asked. “The manager may not want to speak about it in person tomorrow. Knowing ahead will benefit us and it’s always awkward.”

The employee did not like this and declined to answer.

“I prefer not to disclose my current salary as I do not consider it relevant, although it is relevant to the reason I’m looking for another job!” she stated. “I appreciate the opportunity to discuss my compensation expectations for this role. For me to change where I am currently working, I am looking for a salary between $90-95,000/year depending on benefits.”


This worker was very diplomatic about being asked such an inappropriate question by a job interviewer. At first, it seemed like they reacted well.

“This is very helpful!” they said.

woman looking for a new job online AndreyPopov / Canva Pro

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They then followed that up with, “I’m glad you shared this information. A salary of $90-95,000 will not align with our salary structure.”

“Thank you for letting me know!” the worker responded. “Out of curiosity, are you able to share what the expected salary is for this position?”

It was at that point that everything fell apart for the worker and her interview.

“Hard to say without meeting the candidate,” the interviewer responded. “Shall we cancel the interview?”

@flexjobs What is your current #salary? If this #interviewquestion is legal in your state, here are 4 ways to answer. #jobinterviewquestions #careeradvice ♬ original sound - FlexJobs - Vetted Remote Jobs

While this may seem unethical, it is apparently legal in most cases.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) addressed whether or not this question can be posed in job interviews.


According to Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., the president and CEO of SHRM, “Depending on where you work, a prospective employer may be well within their right to ask about your current salary. While asking about your current salary is legal under federal law, currently, 22 states and 21 cities/localities prohibit salary history inquiries.”

On the one hand, Taylor said you can simply answer the question. “Obviously, the easiest way to advance in the job search process is to answer the question,” he stated. “The recruitment process is a two-way street where you’re trying to learn as much as you can about the job, and the employer is trying to get to know you better.”

On the other hand, some people will not feel comfortable answering the salary question. That’s okay, too.


“If you prefer not to answer the question, state that you would like to learn more about the position before discussing salary,” Taylor said. “Or you could ask about the salary range for the position and share your salary expectations.”

Unfortunately, it seems that what happened to this employee is, in fact, acceptable. Unless they were located in a state or city that made asking about salary illegal, it was fine to do so. Whether or not it was fair to cancel the interview based on the employee’s answer is another matter.

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.