Earlier this month, the New York City Legislature voted to ban questions about a prospective employee’s salary history. It is the latest law to limit an employer’s ability to conduct pre-employment screening and it comes with significant liability for noncompliance.

The law, which will take effect November 1, 2017, will prohibit New York City employers from asking an applicant about their salary history on an employment application or during the hiring process.  The employer is also banned from searching publicly available records or reports regarding a prospective employee’s salary history.  A violation will be considered a discriminatory act (if proven) and could subject the employer to damages in excess of six figures.

To ensure compliance with this law, employers should take the following steps:

  1. Review their employment applications to remove any questions about salary history.

2. Notify their managers and supervisors that these salary history questions cannot be asked during the interview process.

3. Advise interviewers that prospective employees can be asked about prior sales and productivity history and their expectations for their prospective salary. Employers should consult qualified attorneys regarding the permissible scope of their interview questions.

Notably, this law applies to all employers that have offices in New York City.  For those businesses with offices outside of New York City, the law may still apply to them if they have employees or prospective employees who reside in, or perform a majority of their services, in New York City.

This new law coupled with the City’s “Ban the Box” legislation, will make it difficult for New York City employers to obtain significant information about prospective employees before they are offered positions.

If you have questions about how to comply with the law, contact us.

Learn more about our employment law practice.