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Update on New York City Legislation Limiting Salary History Inquiries

As we recently blogged about here, efforts to ban inquiries related to applicants’ salary history have gained momentum across the country. Last Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined this trend by signing into law a bill prohibiting New York City employers from inquiring about prospective employees’ salary history. When it takes effect on October 31, 2017, the law will prohibit employers from communicating “any question or statement to an applicant, an applicant's current or prior employer, or a current or former employee or agent of the applicant's current or prior employer, in writing or otherwise, for the purpose of obtaining an applicant's salary history, or to conduct a search of publicly available records or reports for the purpose of obtaining an applicant's salary history.” “Salary history” includes the applicant's current or prior wage, benefits or other compensation.

There are some important exceptions to this prohibition. First, if an applicant voluntarily discloses their salary history without prompting by the employer, then the employer may consider it. Second, the law does not prohibit an employer and an applicant from discussing compensation expectations related to the position. Finally, the law does not apply to current employees applying for a promotion or transfer, public employees whose compensation is determined pursuant to collective bargaining, or employers acting pursuant to any law authorizing the disclosure or verification of salary history.

As we previously recommended, employers should review their employment applications and recruiting practices and procedures to ensure compliance with the law in advance of October.

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