Trick or Treat? New York City Salary History Ban Becomes Effective October 31

Anthony A. Mingione

Earlier this year, New York City amended its Human Rights Law to make it unlawful for an employer to ask about or rely on a prospective employee’s prior salary history in making hiring decisions. The amendment bans both direct inquiries from applicants and attempts at learning applicants’ previous salaries from indirect sources, such as independent research or third party conversations.

The legislation becomes effective on October 31, 2017, so New York City employers should take advantage of the remaining time before the effective date to conform their hiring practices to the new restrictions. This includes: (1) ensuring everyone involved in the interviewing and hiring process (internally and externally) is aware of and understands these restrictions; (2) reviewing and revising job applications, postings, and related materials to ensure compliance; (3) confirming that staff members charged with responding to reference requests understand these restrictions; and (4) considering the adoption of a procedure to document any voluntary disclosure of salary information by a candidate.

Though this legislation is limited to New York City employers, banning salary inquiries in the hiring process is a rapidly expanding trend across the United States. As a result, all employers, especially those operating in multiple cities and states, must remain vigilant as these bans are likely to be coming to a neighborhood near you soon and can differ subtly from locale to locale.

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