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New York Salary History Ban Works To Narrow Wage Gap, Remains Unused By Courts


As of January 6, 2020, a salary history ban took effect, aiming to bring New York one step closer to narrowing the gender wage gap. The law prohibits all employers, in both the private and public sectors, from asking prospective or current employees about their salary history and compensation. It also prohibits businesses from seeking similar information from other sources. Because many women start their careers making a lower wage, employers having this previous salary information can make it difficult, if not impossible, for women in the workplace to catch up.

While this law was meant to bridge the gap between wage and gender, New Yorkers are still waiting to see it cited by the court system. In fact, there has yet to be a case calling upon its use.

Many in the legal field believe that it is because employees in New York are unfamiliar with the protections this law brings.

The New York Department of Labor has since developed information for employers and employees alike to understand the scope of the law.

Because there is a general belief that employees are unaware of their rights under the salary history ban, the following questions have been discussed by the New York Department of Labor.

1. Does the history ban only apply to new employees?

No. The New York Salary Ban applies to both new and current employees. This means that in addition to the hiring process, employers cannot request prior salary history information from current employees as a condition of a promotion.

But, this does not stop an employer from considering information already in their possession for existing employees such as a current employee’s current salary or benefits being paid by that employer.

2. How do I ensure my employer is complying with the law?

In order to comply with the salary history ban law, employers should review job applications/processes and train hiring personnel to ensure compliance.

This may include removing questions about prior salary, as well as adding a statement that no salary information will be utilized in the hiring process.

3. Does the law apply to independent contractors?

The salary history ban law does not apply to independent contractors, freelance workers, or other contract workers unless they are working via an employment agency.

The New York salary history ban is meant to protect and elevate the rights of working women in New York, however, until it is used via the court system, the law has no impact on those who need it most.

Brown Kwon & Lam: NY Salary History Ban

The wage gap demands closure–if you are experiencing wage discrimination despite the salary history ban, you deserve justice. The wage gap will only close when we demand it to be so.

Contact Brown Kwon & Kam today. We will fight for your employment rights.