You Can’t Ask That! Navigating New York’s New Ban On Salary History
By: Danielle Manahan
A common practice when looking at and interviewing prospective employees is to ask for information on their salary history. This information is surely useful in determining the applicant’s level of experience or calculating the salary offer you present to a successful candidate. However, under a recent law passed in the state of New York, this practice is now prohibited and could result in your company facing a lawsuit.
Under the Labor Law Section 194-a (“Section 194-a”), public and private employers in New York can no longer ask job applicants about their salary history, either directly or through a third party, unless required under a previously enacted federal, state, or local law. Employers are also prohibited from using an applicant’s salary history in determining whether to offer an interview or a position to the applicant.
This law applies to both prospective and current employees, although employers may utilize any salary history information they already have for current employees, such as the employee’s current salary in their position with the employer.
Section 194-a does not prevent job candidates from disclosing their salary history voluntarily. Only if the salary history is voluntarily disclosed may it be used by the employer in determining salary offers for that individual.
This law does not cover independent contractors and also does not prevent employers from instead asking for salary expectations for the new position.
Now that Section 194-a is in effect, companies should take care to review their hiring processes to ensure that salary history is not asked in any way on any job applications, by any interviewers or hiring personnel, or by supervisors in the process of considering promotions or raises. This includes framing such questions as “optional” or including “Prefer Not to Disclose” options.
SLG has extensive experience advising clients on employment matters. We would be happy to assist your company in navigating the nuances of Section 194-a and the possible pitfalls presented by this and other issues. For more information, please contact SLG at firstname.lastname@example.org.