A proposed change to New York City local law seeks to make certain customary hiring practices illegal for employers in New York City.
This week, the NYC Office of Public Advocate introduced proposed legislation that would make it illegal for employers to inquire into a job applicant’s wage history during the hiring process. The bill would prohibit New York City employers or employment agencies from asking about an applicant’s salary history or searching publicly available records or reports for the same.
New York City employers would also be prohibited from relying on any such information in determining the compensation package at any stage in the employment process unless the applicant disclosed information willingly and without prompting. The proposed new New York law would not apply to any actions taken by a NY employer in following any federal, state or local law.
Similar legislation recently passed in Massachusetts. Indeed, the issue has become a hot political topic, with groups advocating that New York state take up federal and state measures to bridge the wage gap.
The proposed law is based on policy recommendations from a wage equity report from NYC Public Advocate Letitia James that found women in New York City face a “significant wage gap” across industrial sectors that is worse than the national average.
What does this mean for businesses employing workers in New York City? Nothing, at the moment, because this bill is winding its way through the New York City Council and will not take effect until 120 days after the law would be adopted. But, we would recommend that businesses in New York City change their evaluation of prospective hires to conform with this new proposed law and to focus on references and verifiable information (like experience, certifications, etc.) in assessing the value of a future hire.