The New York State Legislature recently passed a bill that amends the New York State Labor Law and would prohibit New York employers from requesting that job applicants or current employees provide wage or salary history as either a condition of employment or to be considered for a promotion. Employers would also not be able to seek this information from other employers. Although Governor Cuomo has not signed the bill yet, he is expected to do so shortly.
The new legislation would prohibit employers from retaliating against (e.g., refusing to interview, hire, or promote) applicants or current employees for refusing to provide wage or salary history. An employer who fails to comply could be held liable for the damages suffered by an applicant or employee because of such an inquiry as well as their attorney’s fees.
An employer would, however, be permitted to confirm the salary history of an applicant or current employee if, after the employer makes an offer of employment, “the applicant or current employee responds to the offer by providing prior wage or salary information to support a wage or salary higher than offered by the employer.” Further, the new legislation would not prohibit an applicant or employee from voluntarily disclosing his or her salary or wage history to his or her employer.
This change would not affect any rights employees may have pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement. It also would not impact any laws that otherwise require disclosure or verification of an employee’s salary or wage history.
The prohibition on salary or wage inquiries would become effective 180 days after the Governor signs the bill.
In anticipation of these likely changes, employers are encouraged to review their application materials and hiring practices to ensure that they do not require information concerning an applicant or employee’s salary or wage history. Additionally, employers should also ensure that in interviewing applicants or employees that no questions are designed to solicit information about wage or salary history.
As employers navigate these issues, our Firm’s labor and employment attorneys are prepared to provide legal advice.
Visit our Labor & Employment Practice Area to learn more about the legal services we can provide in this area. If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this communication, please contact Emily A. Middlebrook.