Can Employers Ask About Your Salary History? | Bantle & Levy



Can Employers Ask About Your Salary History?

In most cases when employees are searching for a new position, they want something that’s going to pay more than their current position. One of the most effective ways to make more money is by switching jobs. However, while you would want a pay raise when looking for a new position, this doesn’t always happen. The difference between a new position and your current one may be very minor. This can be especially true when your new salary is based on your previous salary.

Being asked how much your current salary is in an interview may seem like a normal interview question for some, but many states and localities prohibit doing so. If you’re outside of New York City or are looking for a new position after years with your current employer, you might not be aware of what your rights are regarding disclosing your salary history.

Salary history bans help to reduce the wage gap that many employees belonging to certain protected classes can experience. Learn more about New York State and New York City’s Salary History Bans.

New York State Salary History Ban

Since January 6, 2020, New York State has prohibited employers from asking job applicants for their salary history, which includes compensation and benefits. Employers also can not ask others for information regarding this information. This law also prohibits employers from relying on an applicant’s previous salary as a factor to determine whether to interview, offer employment, or determine what compensation to offer.

Applicants may voluntarily disclose their past salary to an employer, so long as the employer did not prompt them for this information. For example, applicants may want to provide their current salary to negotiate with an employer. If an applicant voluntarily provides this information, employers may consider this information when determining a salary.

In addition to job applicants, employers can not request information regarding the salary history of current employees. While they may use information already available to them, such as the salary the employee currently receives from the employer, they can’t inquire about the employee’s salary from previous employers.

Employers may also inquire about an applicant’s salary history when required by federal, state, and local laws.

This law covers all public and private employees in New York. However, independent contractors and freelancers are not covered by this law unless they are represented by an employment agency.

New York City Salary History Ban

New York City’s Salary History Ban went into effect on October 13, 2017. In NYC, employers are prohibited from asking applicants questions about their current or prior salaries or benefits. Employers can also not ask others about an applicant’s salary history, such as asking former employers or searching public records. If an employer does have this information, they cannot rely on that information to set their compensation.

Applicants are permitted to provide their salary history voluntarily with no prompting from the employer. Employers may verify and consider an applicant’s salary history that they voluntarily provided.

Unlike New York State’s ban, New York City does not cover current employees. Additionally, the ban does not cover applicants for positions with public employers where compensation is set according to a collective bargaining agreement. Employers may also make inquiries about salary history information when authorized or required by federal, state, or local law.

Get the Compensation You Deserve

Unfortunately, being compensated based on the value of your work can sometimes be difficult. If you’re being underpaid or treated unfavorably in another way due to discrimination, you need someone who can help. At Bantle & Levy, we have vast experience representing employees who have experienced employment discrimination.

Don’t let employment discrimination or employee rights violations go on any longer. Contact us for help.

Bantle & Levy
Bantle & Levy

Lee Bantle is a partner at Bantle & Levy LLP. He has extensive legal expertise, admitted to the bars of the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals. With a distinguished academic background and clerkship experience, he has been recognized as a top-rated civil rights attorney and esteemed lawyer. In addition to his successful career, he has actively contributed to various legal organizations and serves as a faculty member for NYU's Annual Workshop on Employment Law for Federal Judges.


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