Effective October 31, 2017, New York City becomes another jurisdiction making it unlawful for contractors and other employers to ask most job applicants for information about their prior or current salary, compensation or benefits. Adopted by the City Council earlier this year, the new law seeks to eliminate wage inequality experienced by women and minorities by making it unlawful to inquire about or rely on a job applicant’s salary history. In anticipation of the October 31 effective date, the New York City Commission on Human Rights published two Fact Sheets – one for job applicants available here, and one for employers available here.
The Fact Sheets make clear that manufacturers and other employers hiring in New York City are permitted to ask job applicants about salary expectations if hired or may advise the applicant about the salary range or starting salary of the position. The Fact Sheets also make clear that a manufacturer or other employer may verify the accuracy of any statements the applicant makes about her or his prior salary, so long as the applicant offered this information without prompting by the employer.
Curiously, the job applicant Fact Sheet asserts that the city law applies to both independent contractors and interns. Some might question this interpretation because the Amendment itself bans inquiries into “the salary history of an applicant for employment” or reliance on the salary history “for such an applicant.” See New York City for 2017 Local Law No. 67, Section 1, (amending Administrative Code Section 8-107(25)(b) (1), (2)(emphasis added).
One significant issue not addressed by the Fact Sheets concerns whether the salary inquiry ban applies to manufacturers and other employers in New York City when hiring for positions located outside New York City. For example, the manufacturer attending a job fair being held in New York City for positions in Pennsylvania may have to comply with the salary inquiry ban.
Contractors and other employers should consider these issues and the impact of the law on their operations.
This post was authored by Matthew Miklave and is also being shared on our Manufacturing Law Blog. If you’re interested in getting updates on legal news and perspectives and related business issues that are facing manufacturers and distributors, we invite you to subscribe to the blog.