June 21, 2017

Assembly Passed Legislation to Prohibit Questioning of Salary History

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblymember Marcos Crespo announced the passage of legislation that will ban the request and requirement of a prospective employee's salary history as a condition to receive an interview, an offer of employment, or in determining wages or salary. This legislation aims to prevent wage discrimination in the work place.

"The Assembly majority is committed to closing the wage gap by ensuring all employers are supporting a fair and equitable work environment. It starts by removing unnecessary barriers like salary history requirements," said Speaker Heastie. "Pay inequity disproportionately affects women and people of color; we have to be deliberate and proactive if we truly hope to close the gap."

"The Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act were passed over 50 years ago in an effort to establish equal pay for equal work and yet today woman and minorities are subject to unfair wage disparities. The requirement of salary history for current and potential employees is a tactic used to justify low pay rates and marginal pay increases that perpetuate continued wage inequalities," said Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Chair of the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force. "It's time to put an end to this prejudicial practice in order to protect workers and prevent wage discrimination. "

This bill (A2040-C, Crespo) prohibits employers from relying on salary or wage history in determining the wages or salary of a prospective employee. It also prohibits employers from requesting, requiring, or seeking a current or prospective employee's salary history as a condition of employment, to receive an interview, an offer of employment, or continued employment or promotion. In addition, this legislation prohibits employers from retaliating against current or prospective employees for refusing to provide a salary history or for filing a complaint alleging a violation of this bill. Employers covered under this bill include all public and private employers. Violations of this law could result in civil and administrative penalties.

This bill does not prohibit a prospective employee from voluntarily disclosing wage or salary history to a potential employer. Further, an employer may only confirm wage or salary history after making an offer of employment with compensation if the employee responds with prior wage information to support higher compensation.

This legislation also requires the Department of Labor to engage in a public awareness campaign to educate employers around the state of the new law.

Establishing the right to pay equity began in 1963 with the Equal Pay Act, then the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and more recently the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, but the wage gap persists. In order to achieve fair pay, the practice of basing wages or salaries on a prospective employees wage or salary history must end.