• NYC Legislation Prohibiting Employer Inquiry Into Applicant’s Salary History Will Go Into Effect Later This Month
  • October 18, 2017 | Authors: Caroline J. Berdzik; Reshma Khanna; Dove A. E. Burns
  • Law Firms: Goldberg Segalla LLP - New York Office; Goldberg Segalla LLP - New York Office
  • Earlier this year, Mayor de Blasio signed a bill prohibiting all New York City employers from inquiring about an applicant’s salary history. The bill is set to go into effect on October 31, 2017, and employers should be prepared to implement new hiring policies, procedures, and documents by that time.

    Starting October 31, 2017, employers may not:

    • Inquire about an applicant’s current or prior earnings or benefits
    • Ask an applicant’s current employer about the applicant’s current or prior earnings or benefits
    • Search public records to learn of an applicant’s current or prior earnings or benefits
    • Rely on information about an applicant’s current or prior earnings or benefits to set their compensation.

    However, if — and only if — an applicant, without any solicitation from the employer, voluntarily discloses their current or prior earnings, the employer may consider the salary information provided.

    The bill is part of the mayor’s broader efforts aimed at establishing equal pay: Now, a new employee’s starting salary will not be on the employee’s historical pay, which may not have been equitable. Once the bill goes into effect, prospective employees, particularly women and people of color, will have a clean slate when negotiating new salaries.

    As the bill’s start date approaches, the New York City Commission on Human Rights has released fact sheets for both employers and applicants to provide clarification on the legal implications of the legislation. Prior to the official effective date, employers should familiarize themselves with impact of the bill and adjust their current procedures and protocols to avoid legal ramifications. For example, this new law applies to all New York City employers, regardless of size, as well as applicants for full-time, part-time, or internship positions. The only type of applicants that are not covered by the new legislation are applicants for internal transfers or promotions with their current employer or applicants for positions with public employers that have set compensation pursuant to collective bargaining agreements.

    Of course, salary will always play an important role in the hiring process. Employers may still discuss anticipated salary ranges, bonuses, and benefits for a position; inquire about an applicant’s expectations; inquire about an applicant’s work productivity such as revenue, production, or book of business; and verify non–salary-related information such as work history, responsibilities, and achievements.

    Read the New York City Commission on Human Rights’ Fact Sheets:

    • Employer Fact Sheet
    • Applicant Fact Sheet