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What You Need To Know About New York’s Salary History Ban

May 11

One of the most common reasons women continue to fall behind in pay scale to their male counterparts in similar positions is because of salary history. However, New York has worked to close the gender wage gap with the Salary History Ban. Here’s what you need to know about it.

What is the Salary History Ban?

On January 6, 2020, the new salary history ban aimed at bringing New York one step closer to narrowing the gender wage gap took effect. The Act works to protect employees in both the private and public sector, from being asked about their salary history or compensation. In addition, it also prohibits businesses from seeking similar information from other sources.

What Questions Can/Can’t an Employer Ask Under the Salary History Ban

While the law does offer protections for employees, there are still some questions an employer can ask under the new law.

Under the Salary History Ban, New York employers cannot ask an applicant about their current or past salary, compensation, or benefits. This includes orally or in writing, personally, or through an agent. Further, the employer cannot rely on the applicant’s salary history information as a factor in determining whether to interview or offer employment.

An employer may however ask an applicant for their salary expectations for the position instead of asking what the applicant earned in the past.

Further, an employer may utilize information already in their possession when giving a current employee a raise or promotion.

Though the employer cannot seek out salary information about the employee or applicant, employees or applicants can disclose their current salary. An applicant may do this to negotiate a higher salary, benefits, etc.

How to Ensure New York Employers Are Complying with the Law

In order to comply with Labor Law Section 194-a, employers should review and edit their current job applications and related documents when hiring new employees to ensure compliance. This includes removing questions about the applicant’s current or past salary. In addition, to be proactive, employers may state they do not seek salary history in their job applications and list a salary wage where applicable.

When can an employer seek salary history or related information?

An employer in New York State may seek salary information from an employee when it is legally required by Federal, State, or local law.

What can be done if my employer violated the Salary History Ban?

If an employer violates the law, the employee(s) may bring civil court action against the employer or they may contact the Division of Labor Standards to seek legal information.

These cases can sometimes be complicated, which is why it is best to contact a New York employee rights attorney right away to ensure you’re being protected. In addition, if you face retaliation for filing a complaint against an employer for not abiding by the Salary History Ban or for seeking redress for wage and gender discrimination, you should also seek legal counsel.

Facing Wage Discrimination? Brown Kwon & Lam can help.

If you are not being paid your fair share because of your gender, or a new employer disobeys the Salary History Ban, call Brown Kwon & Lam. We’ll fight for you. Contact us today.

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