New York State Law Preventing Employers from Inquiring about Salary History Goes into Effect

Employment Law Insider Alert

PUBLISHED ON: December 16, 2019

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Joining a growing list of states and other jurisdictions, including New Jersey, New York City, and Westchester and Suffolk counties, the New York State law preventing employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s salary and benefit history, signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on July 10, 2019, goes into effect January 6, 2020.

Background and Purpose

According to published reports, women in New York state earn only 87% of what men in the same job earn. Moreover, the report concludes that for Hispanic, African-American and Asian women, the wage gap often approaches 50% of what white men earn. The conventional wisdom is that inquiring into an applicant’s salary history only serves to further perpetuate this wage inequity.

What is Prohibited

The New York law prohibits businesses from inquiring about or r lying on the salary history of a job applicant in determining salary, benefits, or other compensation during the hiring process, including
the negotiation of a contract. These prohibitions extend to inquiries made to the applicant and to their current or former employers, as well as searches of public records. The term “salary history,” as it is used
in the New York law, includes an applicant’s current or prior wage, benefits, and other compensation. It does not include any objective measure of an applicant’s productivity (e.g., revenue, sales or other production reports).....

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