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Client Alert: New York City Bans Questions About Job Applicants’ Salary History

Insight Thomas M. White Thomas M. White · May 19, 2017

It is common for employers to ask job applicants about their current compensation before extending an offer of employment.  Critics of this practice contend that because women and minority males are often paid less than white men obtaining this information from applicants perpetuates income disparity.  A number of jurisdictions have banned asking this question-and New York City will be joining this community.  Because multi-jurisdictional employers frequently develop uniform policies across the country it is quite possible that New York City's prohibition will be followed elsewhere.

On May 4, 2017 New York City's Mayor signed a bill prohibiting employers from asking job applicants about their salary history.  The law becomes effective 180 days after enactment or November 5, 2017.  It will no longer be permissible for an employer to ask a candidate or his current or prior employers about the applicant's salary.  These restrictions apply to agents of the employer which means that employment agencies should not transmit this information to their employer clients.  Moreover, an employer may not search public records to glean this data.  

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Mr. White specializes in the full scope of human resources management, such as Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, Healthcare, and Employment Law. He began his practice shortly after ERISA was enacted. In this capacity, he has undertaken a full range of contentious, non-contentious and transactional benefits and employment work, and also has extensive experience in the development, documentation and administration of executive compensation programs. Read Mr. White's complete background