On May 4th, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law that will prohibit employers from asking about a prospective employee’s salary history or relying on salary history in determining compensation. This is likely to have a profound impact on New York City employers’ hiring and compensation practices. The law will go into effect October 31, 2017, 180 days after its May 4, 2017 signing.

The new law amends New York City’s Human Rights Law to make it an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer or employment agency to:

The law defines “salary history” to include an applicant’s current or prior wages, benefits, and all other forms of compensation. In addition to prohibiting seeking salary history directly from the applicant, the law also prohibits seeking salary information about the applicant from the applicant’s current or prior employers or any agent of the applicant’s current or prior employer, and prohibits searching for the applicant’s salary history in publicly available resources.

Although the law prohibits employers from inquiring about an applicant’s salary history, an employer will not be prohibited from engaging in discussions with the applicant about a position’s anticipated salary, the applicant’s expectations regarding compensation, or whether an applicant would forfeit any unvested equity or deferred compensation for leaving his or her current employer. An employer will continue to be able to speak with an applicant about “objective measures” of the applicant’s productivity, which could include revenue, sales, or other production reports.

The law provides some exceptions. The exceptions include:

New York City employers should review their application, interview, and applicant verification processes to ensure their procedures comply with the provisions of the law. If you have questions about this update or integrating this law into your application and interview process or procedures, please contact the author of this article or an attorney at Clifton Budd & DeMaria, LLP.