Can Employers Ask Employees About their Salary History?
On May 4, 2017, the New York City Council passed a bill that limited what an employer can ask job candidates about their salary history, compensation history and other past benefits when interviewing them for a job. The law went into effect on October 31, 2017.
The National Law Review explains that new law was part of the New York City Human Rights Law. What this means for employers is that violations are subject to compensatory damages, which could include back pay, front pay, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, emotional distress, etc.
What was the purpose of passing the law?
The law had the purpose of preventing employers from using a job applicant’s past salary history to determine compensation. The employer cannot ask the job applicant about previous salary history for a current or prior wages, about benefits or other job compensation they have received. It is also unlawful for an employer to ask the previous employer what the individual was being paid or to ask about salary history. The employer also is prohibited from searching public records to obtain a job candidate’s salary history.
When the job candidates volunteer their salary history without any prompting, the employer can legally verify the information with the previous employer and use the salary history in determining the current salary.
What can an employer ask?
Employers can ask about the job candidate’s previous production at the job, such as how much revenue or sales they brought in or about other production statistics related to their work.
Employers can inform job candidates in writing or verbally about the proposed or anticipated salary or salary range for the open position.
They can also discuss what the job applicant’s expectations are regarding salary, benefits and compensation.
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