NYC May Ban Employers from Seeking Salary History from Applicants

October 21, 2016
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Will NYC Prevent Employers From Inquiring Into Applicants’ Salary History?

In 2016, major initiatives have been announced by federal, state and city governments to combat unequal pay for women. For example, the EEOC is requesting new information on EEO-1s that will better track information that reveals pay discrimination. As complicated as compliance with employment laws can be, the fact that employers increasingly are called to answer to three sovereigns whose laws do not coincide makes that job all the more complicated.salary historyThe New York City Council is now deliberating over a new employment regulation that would prohibit businesses from inquiring into a job applicant’s salary history. Sponsors of the proposed bill maintain that it will help reduce the likelihood that women will be prejudiced by prior salary levels and help break the cycle of gender pay inequity.

The Proposed Bill – Int.1253

Under Int. 1253, it would be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer, employment agency, employee or agent thereof:

  • To inquire, in writing or otherwise, about the salary history, including, but not limited to, compensation and benefits, of an applicant for employment. The bill defines “to inquire” as “to ask an applicant in writing or otherwise or to conduct a search of publicly available records or reports.”
  • To rely on the salary history of an applicant for employment in determining the salary amount for such applicant at any stage in the employment process, including the contract, unless the applicant, unprompted, willingly disclosed the salary history to the employer, employment agency, employee or agent thereof.

Notably, Int. 1253 would not apply to any actions taken by an NYC employer or employment agency pursuant to any federal, state or local law that authorizes the disclosure or verification of salary history for employment purposes.

What’s next for the bill?

Since being introduced on August 16, 2016, the salary inquiry bill has garnered the support of 28 City Council Members. Should the measure continue to progress, Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign it. The new requirements would take effect 120 days from enactment.

Massachusetts recently passed similar legislation. The New Jersey State Assembly is considering a bill (A-4119) that would amend the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) to ban employers from seeking salary information from prospective job applicants.

We will be closely tracking the status of the bill and will post updates as they become available. Should the bill become law, New York City employers will likely be required to amend their hiring practices, including those related to job applications, employee interviews, and salary negotiation.

Do you have any questions? Would you like to discuss the matter further? If so, please contact me, Gary Young, at 201-806-3364.