New York State Salary History Ban Takes Effect

As of January 6, 2020, New York State’s so-called “salary history ban” is now in effect.  The new law, codified under New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) § 194-A, prohibits all employers throughout the State of New York from:

1.    Relying on an applicant’s wage or salary to determine whether to offer employment or a particular salary (unless that information is already in the employer’s possession due to a  voluntary disclosure or because the applicant is an existing employee);
2.    Requesting or requiring an applicant’s salary history as a condition to being interviewed or considered for an offer of employment, or as a condition of employment or promotion, unless such information is required pursuant to federal, state, or local law;
3.    Seeking an applicant’s salary history from a current or former employer; and
4.    Refusing to interview, hire, or promote, or otherwise retaliating against an applicant: (i) based upon her salary history; (ii) because she refused to provide her salary history; or (iii) because she complained to the New York Department of Labor regarding an alleged violation of the salary history ban.

The new law largely tracks similar legislation that took effect in New York City on October 10, 2017, though with some notable differences – some of which benefit workers, and some of which do not.  For example, the New York State law applies to both external job applicants and current employees seeking promotions or transfers, whereas its New York City analog applies only to external applicants.  Conversely, the New Yok State law protects only workers who are properly considered “employees” under the NYLL, while the New York City version applies to all workers, including independent contractors and freelancers.  Regardless, on the balance, the enactment of the salary history ban is undoubtedly a major victory for employees throughout New York State. 

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About Alex Hartzband

Alex Hartzband's practice is focused on employment litigation. Alex is a senior associate in the firm's New York office.

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