New York City Law Tries to Eliminate Wage Gap

New York City Law Aims to Reduce Wage Gap

On October 31, 2017, there will be something new in effect in New York City. On May 4, 2017, NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio signed into law a proposed amendment to New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) that will prohibit employers from asking questions about the salary history of prospective employees. The New York City Council approved the amendment in April.

The passage of this law continues what seems to be a trend aimed at eliminating the persistent difference in wages that has always existed between men and women in the workplace. Although there has been tremendous progress made toward reducing the wage gap, it remains a problem, especially for women of color. With the amendment to NYCHRL, employers should make offers of compensation to prospective employees that are based on the value of an individual’s qualifications and not what she or he was earning in the past. Hopefully, the law will level the playing field for anyone in New York City who has been historically underpaid.

What Will the Law Prohibit?

NYCHRL already prohibits employment discrimination for various reasons including gender, pregnancy, age, race, familial status, military status and many other protected characteristics. The National Law Review states that the new amendment will make it unlawful:

“To inquire about the salary history of an applicant for employment; or

To rely on the salary history of an applicant to determine the salary, benefits or other compensation of that applicant, during the hiring process, unless the applicant voluntarily and without prompting discloses his or her salary history to the employer.”

The law allows an employer to engage in discussions about a prospective employee’s expectations about salary, benefits, bonuses and other compensation. An employer is permitted to share with an applicant, information about the proposed or anticipated salary or salary range for a position.

If you, as an applicant, volunteer information about your salary history, the prospective employer has the legal right to verify the information.

There are Exceptions to the Rule

Like many laws, the amendment to NYCHRL does have some exceptions. For example, the prohibition on making a salary inquiry may not apply when:

  • Someone is applying for an internal transfer or promotion with a current employer
  • There are state, local or federal laws that specifically permit verification of salary for employment purposes

Contact Us

Workers in New York City benefit from its progressive employees’ rights laws. The city council and mayor have implemented policies that go above and beyond to try to protect employees from discrimination and unfair treatment. The law banning salary inquiries going into effect in October is another step toward the goal of equality in NYC. With any luck, past salaries will no longer shape future salaries and employees in New York City will earn money commensurate with their experience and skill.

If you have questions about your wages or salary or are experiencing workplace discrimination, call Leeds Brown Law, P.C., employment law attorneys handling cases in New York City and the surrounding areas. Our experienced and dedicated lawyers can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-585-4658. Your consultation is free so call today.


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