Recently, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill into law that prohibits all New York City employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s salary history. The bill, Intro 1253, is an expansion of the Mayor’s original Executive Order 21 that was signed in November 2016 and includes both private and public employers. According to Mayor de Blasio this legislation seeks to combat the discriminatory pre-hiring procedures that negatively impact women and minorities.
Discrimination in the pre-hiring process have severely hindered job opportunities to both racial minorities and women. According to a study published in the National Bureau of Economic Research, white applicants receive 50 percent more callbacks than equally qualified African American job applicants. Research also revealed that women, specifically mothers, faced strong penalties in the hiring process as well. In a study that measured sex discrimination in high-price restaurant hiring, women were 40 percent less likely to receive an interview and 50 percent less likely to be hired compared to their male counterparts.
Similarly, both minorities and women face a significant wage gap as well. According to Pew Research Center, in 2015, African Americans earned 75 percent of what white males made in median hourly earnings and women earned 83 percent as much as men. According to a report released by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), women lose out on more than $400,000 over the course of their careers, but minority women are shorted more than double that. When compared to the earnings of white men, the wage loss for Native American women is $833,040, for black women its $877,480, and for Latinas upwards of $1,007,080, according to the NWLC.
Intro 1253 dictates that it is an unlawful practice for any New York City employer to inquire about or rely on a job applicant’s salary history to determine salary amount during the hiring process, including the negotiation of a contract. An applicant’s salary history includes wage, salary, benefits, or any other means of compensation. If a job applicant voluntarily, and without prompting, discloses their salary history to an employer, the employer may consider salary history in determining wage, salary, benefits and other compensation for that applicant, and is entitled to verify that salary history. Individuals who believe that an employer violated these restrictions may file a complaint with New York City’s Human Rights Commission. This commission has the ability to impose civil penalties up to $250,000 for willful and malicious violations of the law, including emotional distress and other benefits.
According to Mayor de Blasio’s administration, Intro 1253 builds on the progress they have made to close the wage gap for minorities and women and helps to ensure that everyone is treated with the respect they deserve. In the past some employers have used an applicant’s previous compensation as a benchmark from which to determine starting pay in a new position. By restricting these questions during the interview process, job applicants are free to negotiate fair pay and prevent underpayment throughout their employment history. First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray praised the legislation stating that it is essential to guaranteeing New York City job applicants a fair and just hiring process and ensure that their work is appropriately valued in the future. She hopes that the regulation will encourage mindful, open communication between employers and prospective employees to negotiate honest salary, compensation and realistic job expectations.
With the laws and regulatory guidelines surrounding New York’s employment process ever-changing, many employers find themselves undergoing time-consuming stress trying to adjust their business practices to align by the letter of the law. When seeking guidance on how to navigate local, state and federal laws, it is important that business owners and employers consult an experienced business and employment law attorney. The New York employment law attorneys at Blodnick Fazio & Associates P.C. are experienced in handling various employment law matters, including those involving pre-employment processes. For more information or to schedule a consultation at our New York employment law office, call (516) 280-7105 or fill out our contact form.