New York City Public Advocate Letitia James has introduced legislation before the City Council that would amend the New York City Human Rights Law to make it an unlawful employment practice for employers to request job applicants’ wage history during the hiring process.

The bill would prohibit any employer or employment agency from asking about or otherwise inquiring into an applicant’s salary history, including but not limited to compensation and benefits, or searching publicly available records or reports for such salary history information.  Employers would further be prohibited from relying on an applicant’s salary history in determining the salary, compensation or benefits package for such applicant at any stage in the employment process, including in preparing an employment agreement or contract, unless the applicant disclosed such information willingly and without prompting. The proposed new law would not apply to any actions taken by an employer pursuant to any federal, state or local law that authorizes the disclosure or verification of salary history for employment purposes.

Public Advocate James stated that the proposed law is based on policy recommendations from a wage equity report that her office released in April 2016 entitled “Advancing Pay Equity in New York City” which found that women in New York earn $5.8 billion less in wages than men every year and face a significant wage gap in every industrial sector, and that wage disparities for women of color in New York City are significantly worse than the national average.

The proposed legislation follows on the heels of the recent passing of a similar law in Massachusetts, which also prohibits employers from requesting or inquiring into the salary history of job applicants and further restricts employee discussions about their own or another employee’s wages.

The bill has been referred to the City Council’s Committee on Civil Rights for further consideration. If passed, the law would take effect 120 days following adoption.

We will continue to monitor this pending bill and report on any further developments.

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Photo of Evandro Gigante Evandro Gigante

Evandro Gigante is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration group and the Hiring & Terminations group. He represents and counsels clients through a variety of labor and employment matters, including allegations of…

Evandro Gigante is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration group and the Hiring & Terminations group. He represents and counsels clients through a variety of labor and employment matters, including allegations of race, gender, national origin, disability and religious discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, defamation and breach of contract. Evandro also counsels employers through reductions-in-force and advises clients on restrictive covenant issues, such as confidentiality, non-compete and non-solicit agreements.

With a focus on discrimination and harassment matters, Evandro has extensive experience representing clients before federal and state courts. He has tried cases in court and before arbitrators and routinely represents clients before administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as state and local human rights commissions.

Photo of Laura Fant Laura Fant

Laura Fant is a special employment law counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-administrative leader of the Counseling, Training & Pay Equity Practice Group. Her practice is dedicated to providing clients with practical solutions to common (and uncommon) employment concerns…

Laura Fant is a special employment law counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-administrative leader of the Counseling, Training & Pay Equity Practice Group. Her practice is dedicated to providing clients with practical solutions to common (and uncommon) employment concerns, with a focus on legal compliance, risk management and mitigation strategies, and workplace culture considerations.

Laura regularly counsels clients across numerous industries on a wide variety of employment matters involving recruitment and hiring, employee leave and reasonable accommodation issues, performance management, and termination of employment . She also advises on preparing, implementing and enforcing employment and separation agreements, employee handbooks and company policies, as well as provides training on topics including discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Laura is a frequent contributor to Proskauer’s Law and the Workplace blog and The Proskauer Brief podcast.