New Jersey and New York Ban Salary History Inquiries

New Jersey and New York Ban Salary History Inquiries

The number of states and cities banning employers from asking job seekers to reveal their salary history has grown again, with the recent additions of New Jersey and New York.

New Jersey

On July 25, 2019, New Jersey enacted a law that prohibits all employers in NJ from using salary history to screen job applicants.  This law becomes effective on January 1, 2020.

Once effective, employers will not be able to inquire into the job candidate’s pay or benefits history to determination how much to pay the candidate for a position.  This law does not apply to existing company employees who are promoted internally or transferred within the company where they are already employed.

Employers in New Jersey should familiarize themselves with the new law and ensure that any job applications they use in New Jersey either exclude questions about pay history or they instruct NJ applicants not to answer this question.  Employers may request written authorization to verify salary history after making an employment offer.

Employers who violate the new law may be subject to fines of up to $1,000 for a first offense, $5,000 for a second offense, and $10,000 for a third or more violations.  Additionally, individuals may file a civil lawsuit against the employer and the employer may have to pay the plaintiff’s actual damages and reasonable attorney’s fees.

New York

On July 10, 2019, New York State enacted a new law that prohibits all employers in the state of NY from asking job applicants and employees about their past salary/wages.  This law becomes effective on January 10, 2020.  This law bans both verbal and written requests for pay history information.  However, even if an individual volunteers this information, employers may not rely on that information to make employment-related decisions affecting that individual.

Employers in New York State should familiarize themselves with the new law and ensure their job applications and interview processes do not inquire about salary history.  Employers may confirm an individual’s pay history only if, at the time the job offer is made, the individual says that they were earning more at a prior job to support a higher wage than what the company offered.

Individuals may file a civil lawsuit against an employer who they believe has violated this law.  Employers who are found in violation of the law may be required to pay the plaintiff’s actual damages and reasonable attorney’s fees.

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