On May 4, 2017, Mayor de Blasio signed a bill into law aimed at eliminating the wage gap between men and women.  When the law goes into effect on October 31, 2017, it will be an “unlawful discriminatory practice” for NYC private employers to ask for salary history information from an applicant, an applicant's current or former employer, or from an employee or agent of that employer. Employers will also be prohibited from conducting any form of search through publicly available information for a prospective employee’s salary history.  The employer may not consider an applicant’s salary history in determining the salary, benefits, or other forms of compensation for that applicant.  “Salary history” includes not only an applicant’s current or prior wage, but also benefits and any other form of compensation he or she may have received. 


Q: Does NJ have a similar law?

A: In 2016, the NJ Senate and Assembly passed a bill that would prohibit employer inquiries into salary history.  In early 2017, the New Jersey Senate failed to override Governor Christie’s conditional veto of that bill.  

UPDATE -  Effective February 1, 2018, NJ state agencies are prohibited from asking a job applicant for past wage history unless or until a conditional offer of employment, including an explanation of the overall compensation package, has been extended. State agencies also are forbidden from investigating or researching prior salaries of applicants. An agency may request or verify current or previous compensation information prior to a conditional job offer only if an applicant volunteers such information or if verification is required by federal, state or local law. An agency that obtained salary history information prior to the effective date of the Executive Order is prohibited from using that information in any employment decision unless required to do so by law or collective bargaining agreement.  As of January 2018, there is no similar law that applies to private NJ employers.

Take Away:

NYC private employers should update their job applications, review and revise their background check forms and phone screen and interview materials and train staff for compliance. Questions regarding salary history must be eliminated.  Anyone involved in the recruiting and hiring process should be trained as to the law’s requirements, including ways to avoid claims that salary history was disclosed involuntarily or at the prompting of the interviewer. A process for documenting when an applicant voluntarily discloses salary history and other compensation information should be implemented. Employers in NJ and areas outside of NYC may also want to take similar steps over the coming months as this is a trend that is likely to come their way.

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