New York State Proposes to Ban Salary History Inquiries

The New York State legislature recently passed a bill which would prohibit employers from asking job applicants and employees about their wage or salary history. The bill has been sent to Governor Cuomo, who is expected to sign. Specifically, the bill would amend the New York Labor law to prohibit employers from:
  • Relying on the wage or salary history of an applicant in determining whether to offer employment to such individual or in determining the wages or salary for such individual;
  • Orally or in writing, seeking, requesting, or requiring the wage or salary history from an applicant or current employee as a condition of being interviewed, or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment, or as a condition of employment or promotion;
  • Orally or in writing, seeking, requesting, or requiring the wage or salary history of an applicant or current employee from a current or former employer, current or former employee, or agent of the applicant or current employee’s current or former employer;
  • Refusing to interview, hire, promote, otherwise employ, or otherwise retaliating against an applicant or current employee based on prior wage or salary history;
  • Refusing to interview, hire, promote, otherwise employ, or otherwise retaliating against an applicant or current employee because the individual did not provide wage or salary history in accordance with the law; or
  • Refusing to interview, hire, promote, otherwise employ, or otherwise retaliating against an applicant or current or former employee because the individual filed a complaint with the State’s department of labor alleging a violation of the law.
The bill does not prevent an applicant or current employee from voluntarily, and without prompting, disclosing or verifying wage or salary history, including but not limited to for the purposes of negotiating wages or salary. In addition, an employer may confirm wage or salary history if at the time an offer of employment with compensation is made, the applicant or current employee responds to the offer by providing prior wage or salary information to support a wage or salary higher than offered by the employer. The bill does not diminish the rights, privileges, or remedies of any applicant or current or former employee under any other law or regulation or under any collective bargaining agreement or employment contract.

An applicant or current or former employee who alleges to be aggrieved by a violation of the law may bring a civil action for compensation for any damages sustained and the court may award injunctive relief as well as reasonable attorneys' fees to a plaintiff who prevails.

If enacted, the bill will take effect 180 days thereafter. As we previously reported, salary history inquiries have already been prohibited in New York City, as well as Suffolk and Westchester Counties. Once effective, the New York State law would render Westchester County’s law null and void since the Westchester law makes clear that it will be nullified once statewide legislation is enacted.

We will continue to monitor developments and keep you apprised of same.