The New York City Council has passed legislation that would
prohibit employers from making inquiries regarding the salary
history of job applicants, and from relying upon job
applicants' wage history during the hiring process. Mayor Bill
de Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law and it will become
effective 180 days following his signature.
What is Prohibited?
The bill, which applies to New York City employers with four or
more employees, amends the New York City Human Rights Law to make
it an "unlawful discriminatory practice" to:
Make any inquiries about an
applicants' salary history; or
Rely on an applicants' salary
history in determining the salary, benefits, or other compensation
for that applicant during the application process.
The bill defines "inquiries" broadly and prohibits not
only questions or statements made directly to job applicants, but
also questions or statements made to any job applicants'
current or prior employer, and any searches of publically available
records for the purpose of obtaining information about salary
history. It does not, however, include statements made to an
applicant concerning a position's proposed salary range.
"Salary history" is defined to include an
applicants' current or prior wage, benefits or other
What is Permitted?
Employers are permitted to consider and verify salary
information for the purpose of formulating salary, benefits and
compensation where prospective employees voluntarily and without
prompting disclose their salary history.
Employers may also, without inquiring about salary history,
engage in discussions with an applicant about his or her salary
The bill does not bar employers from verifying an
applicants' background information; however, if the employer
inadvertently learns about an applicants' salary history during
this process, the employer may not rely upon such information for
determining compensation during the hiring process.
The bill does not extend to applicants for internal transfer or
promotion with their current employer, or public employees whose
salaries, benefits or other compensation are determined by
collective bargaining agreements. Moreover, the law would not apply
where federal, state, or local law specifically authorizes
disclosure or verification of salary history or "specifically
requires knowledge of salary history to determine an employee's
Four Proactive Steps Employers Can Take:
New York City employers should take the following steps to
ensure that they are in compliance once the law takes effect:
Review their policies and practices
to ensure compliance with the new legislation.
Train human resources personnel, and
anyone involved in interviewing candidates, on the new law and the
prohibition about asking job applicants about their salary
Review their job application and
background check forms to ensure that they do not include requests
for salary history information, and make any necessary
Document any instances where an
applicant voluntarily discloses salary history.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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