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Cuomo Vows To Sign Bill Prohibiting NY Employers From Asking For Applicants' Salary Histories

Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo Photo Credit: Daily Voice file

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign legislation that would prohibit employers in New York state from asking job applicants and employees about their wage or salary history.

The legislation is aimed at reducing gender pay inequity while protecting job hunters who were downsized or are returning to work after a long break.

Workers, regardless of gender, who leave or lose higher-paying jobs often face resistance when they're looking for lower-paying work. Employers might wrongly assume they can't afford the job seeker, or that applicant will be unhappy or more likely to leave sooner.

Salary history inquiries have been banned in New York City since Oct. 31, 2017, and are prohibited in Suffolk and Westchester counties.

If enacted, the new statewide law would take effect 180 days after signing. The state legislation would amend the New York Labor law to prohibit employers from:

  • Relying on the wage or salary history of an applicant in determining whether to offer a job or in determining the prospective worker's wages or salary.
  • Orally or in writing, seeking, requesting or requiring the wage or salary history from an applicant or current employee as a condition of being interviewed, or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment , or as a condition of employment or promotion;
  • Orally or in writing, seeking, requesting, or requiring the wage or salary history of an applicant or current employee from a current or former employer, current or former employee, or agent of the applicant or current employee’s current or former employer;
  • Refusing to interview, hire, promote, otherwise employ or otherwise retaliating against an applicant or current employee based on prior wage or salary history;
  • Refusing to interview, hire, promote, otherwise employ or otherwise retaliating against an applicant or current employee because the individual did not provide wage or salary history;
  • Refusing to interview, hire, promote, employ or otherwise retaliating against an applicant or current or former employee because he/she filed a complaint with the state Labor Department.

Applicants and employees may voluntarily and without prompting disclose or verify their salary history, including for the purpose of negotiating wages or salary.

Individuals alleging violations of the law would be able to file a civil action in court. Potential remedies include compensatory damages, injunctive relief and legal fees.

In April, similar legislation was signed into law by Westchester County Executive George Latimer, as reported here by Daily Voice.

Once effective, state law will render Westchester’s law null. (Westchester law states it will be nullified once similar statewide legislation is enacted.)

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