New legislation prohibits employers from asking New York City job applicants about their past compensation and benefits.
On April 5, the New York City Council passed legislation prohibiting employers from inquiring about the salary and benefits histories of job applicants in the city. The bill, Introduction Number 1253-A, bars an employer from asking an applicant, the applicant’s current or former employers, or agents or employees of the applicant’s current or former employers about the applicant’s compensation history. It further bars employers from conducting searches of public records for the purpose of obtaining salary history, and makes it illegal to rely on salary history in determining what salary and/or benefits to offer an applicant. Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law, at which point it would become effective after 180 days.
The bill follows the passage of similar laws in Philadelphia and Massachusetts, though it clarifies certain issues left unclear in those jurisdictions. The bill explicitly identifies several categories of permissible activity and exceptions:
Once the bill becomes law, it will appear as an additional unlawful discriminatory practice in the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). As such, all of the remedies available under the NYCHRL would be available—including, depending on the harm to the plaintiff, monetary damages (e.g., the difference between the compensation of the plaintiff and a comparator), potential fines, and/or injunctive relief (e.g., mandatory training and other remediation measures).
Employers should train every employee involved in the hiring process regarding compliance with this law, ensure that all employment applications and other documents provided to prospective employees during the application process are made compliant, and ensure that procedures are in place to properly document the exchange of relevant information with job candidates. This law also highlights the need for employers to conduct regular, privileged pay equity audits.
Morgan Lewis will continue to monitor all relevant developments, including the bill’s final passage and any promulgated administrative guidance, and provide further updates as necessary.
If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this LawFlash, please contact any of the following Morgan Lewis lawyers: