HR Alert

NYC Prohibits Employers from Inquiring About or Relying on an Applicant's Salary History

Law Contains Permitted Actions and Exceptions

New York City has passed a local law prohibiting employers from inquiring about or relying on an applicant's salary history. Highlights of the local law are presented below.

Prohibited Actions
Under the local law, it is generally an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer, employment agency, or employee (or agent thereof):

  • To inquire about the salary history of an applicant; or
  • To rely on the salary history of an applicant in determining the salary, benefits, or other compensation for such applicant during the hiring process (including the negotiation of a contract).

Permitted Actions
An employer, employment agency, or employee (or agent thereof) may--without inquiring about salary history--engage in discussion with the applicant about his or her expectations with respect to salary, benefits, and other compensation, including (but not limited to) unvested equity or deferred compensation that an applicant would forfeit or have cancelled by virtue of the applicant's resignation from his or her current employer.

Additionally, where an applicant voluntarily--and without prompting--discloses salary history to an employer, employment agency, or employee (or agent thereof), such employer, employment agency, or employee (or agent thereof) may consider salary history in determining salary, benefits, and other compensation for such applicant, and may verify such applicant's salary history.

Among other things, the local law does not apply to: any actions taken by an employer, employment agency, or employee (or agent thereof) under any federal, state, or local law that specifically authorizes the disclosure or verification of salary history for employment purposes, or specifically requires knowledge of salary history to determine an employee's compensation; or applicants for internal transfer or promotion with their current employers.

Additional details are contained in the text of the local law. The local law is expected to take effect on October 31, 2017.

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