NYC Bill Passes: Applicant’s Pay History Now Off-Limits to Employers

By Kelsey Basten

Published on April 25, 2017

Due to a new bill passed by the New York City Council on April 5, 2017 (Introduction Number 1253-A) NYC employers are no longer able to ask job applicants, the applicant’s current or former employers, or managers or employees of the applicant’s current or former employers about compensation and benefits history.

Public records are also off the table, as the bill prohibits employers from conducting searches of the applicant’s salary history through public resources.

Also, the bill makes it illegal to use the applicant’s past salary history to determine what salary and/or benefits to offer.

Mayor Bill Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law, making the bill effective 180 days later.

There are exceptions, however. Employers can inquire about the following:

  • The applicant’s expectations regarding compensation and benefits
  • A proposed salary range for the position
  • Objective measures of an applicant’s experience
  • Unvested equity or deferred compensation the applicant would forfeit upon leaving his/her present employer (stock, etc.)
  • If an applicant discloses past compensation and benefits voluntarily the employer can verify and consider this history when making salary or benefit decisions
  • An employer runs across salary information while conducting a non-salary-related information search; however, the employer cannot use it to determine or negotiate the applicant’s benefits and compensation

The bill is applicable or not applicable in the following situations:

  • Applies to new hires and is not applicable for internal company transfers or promotions.
  • Does not apply to public employees whose salaries and benefits are determined through collective bargaining
  • Does not apply where federal, state or local law specifically mandates the disclosure of salary history

Once the bill becomes a law, applicant history inquiries will be considered as an unlawful discriminatory practice under the NYC Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). The law would require the employer to pay for damages to the applicant, pay potential fines and/or adhere to injunctive relief such as corporate training.

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