Show Me the Money, but Just Don’t Ask Me About It…

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Show Me the Money, but Just Don’t Ask Me About It…

“So, what were you making in your last position?”  For many, that’s one of the most dreaded questions asked during a job interview or on an application.  While your future employer may want to know all those details, it may seem unfair that your next salary could be determined by what you were making in your last position.  If you’re doing a different job for a brand new employer, why is your salary history even relevant?

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

Well, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) asked the same question and came up with this answer: past salary should not be used to determine future earnings.  In October 2017, the CCHR enacted the Local Law 67, making it illegal for employers in New York City to ask about an applicant’s salary history.  The purpose of this law is simple: to help prevent people who may have been underpaid at their previous jobs from being undercompensated in the future.  Now, employers have to rely on a candidate’s experience and qualifications when determining their compensation, not what someone else might have been paying them in the past.

WHO DOES THE LAW APPLY TO?

All employers throughout New York City must comply with this new law, including:

  • Private employers;
  • Public employers; and
  • Employers of any size.

WHAT EXACTLY IS PROHIBITED?

The law became effective on October 31, 2017 and now prevents employers from asking applicants about their salary history at any point during the hiring process, including:

  • In the initial job application;
  • In advertisements, postings or descriptions about the job; and
  • Throughout the entire interview process.

Also, the law applies whether the position is full-time, part-time or an internship, and even protects independent contractors who don’t have their own employees.

WHAT IS NOT PROHIBITED

While this law applies to many situations regarding conversations about pay, it doesn’t prohibit everything.  Employers can still ask about your salary expectations for your next job or talk about what the compensation for the open position will be.  But, be careful with volunteering information!  If you provide your salary or benefits history on your own, without any questioning or prompting from the employer, they can use this to consider your new salary.  Employers may also inquire about your salary history if there are other local, state or federal laws allowing or requiring them to do so.

LOOKING FORWARD

Employers who violate these new laws can find themselves in hot water.  Violators may be required to pay a fine, undergo training or pay damages to the potential employee.  In order to avoid this, the best practice is to focus the hiring process on the applicant’s skills, credentials and salary requirements that they have sent on their own.  Also, take time to educate any staff members that will be involved in the hiring process to make sure they are aware of the new requirements.

New York City isn’t the only place enacting laws like this.  So far, similar legislation has been enacted in California, Delaware and Massachusetts.  So, no matter where you end up in your career, it’s important to know the ins and outs of this law so you don’t find yourself in a sticky situation later on!

Anjana Puri

Associate Attorney

(212) 865-9848

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This Blog is made available by Romano Law PLLC for general informational and educational purposes only, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this Blog you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and Romano Law PLLC or any individual contributor. You should consult a licensed professional attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

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