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On April 5, 2017 the New York City Council passed a bill that prohibits employers from asking about an applicant’s wage history. The bill would amend the New York City Human Rights Law, and supporters say that it seeks to correct the wage gap between men and women.

The bill has been sent to Mayor Bill de Blasio for his signature (which is expected, as he has already prohibited city public agencies from asking applicants about their previous wages), and will go into effect 180 days after the mayor signs it. Therefore employers will need to be ready to comply by October 2017.

The new law prohibits employers from:

  • Asking about wage history (including benefits and other compensation) during the interview process or while negotiating a contract.
  • Searching public records for an applicant’s salary history.

Employers are allowed to discuss salary and benefits expectations regarding salary and benefits, as well as share the salary range for the position.

It’s also important to understand that if an applicant voluntarily shares salary history, employers can use this when determining future compensation and benefits. The new law also does not apply to applicants seeking internal transfers or promotions.

The law does allow for employers to receive salary information as part of a background check; however, salary information obtained via a background check cannot be used to determine the compensation for an applicant.

It is a good idea for New York City employers to review their policies and practices to ensure they are compliant with the new law. Review applications to make sure there are no questions about salary history, and review the law with HR personnel and hiring managers.

Some legal challenges to this law are expected prior to implementation and Corporate Screening will continue to monitor this legislation and will keep you updated as more information becomes available.