On May 4, 2017, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio signed into law an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”). Under this new law, which is intended to reduce pay discrimination, New York City employers cannot ask or say anything to job applicants or the applicant’s current or former employers to try to learn about the applicant’s salary history. However, they are permitted to tell job applicants about the anticipated salary or salary range for the position.
The new law also prohibits New York City employers and employment agencies from relying on a job applicant’s salary history when they make decisions about salary, benefits or other compensation during the hiring process. That expressly includes prohibiting using such information when negotiation an employment contract with a new employee. However, the prohibition does not apply to: (1) job transfers and promotions within the same employer; (2) instances where there is another federal, state or local law that specifically permits or requires salary history to be disclosed or verified to determine an employee’s compensation; or (3) public employees whose salary, benefits or compensation is determined by a collective bargaining.
In addition, this amendment to the NYCHRL prohibits employers and employment agencies from searching public records to try to find out about a job applicant’s salary history. But they can obtain background checks on job candidates, even if the background check includes salary history information, as long as they do not use that information when making decisions about salary, benefits or compensation during the hiring process.