“How much do you make? What are your salary requirements?”

They’re simple questions that employers typically ask prospective job candidates during the interview process. But beginning October 31, 2017, a new law will go in effect that will prohibit all New York City-based employers from inquiring about an employee’s salary history during the hiring process.

The new law will prohibit employers from the following:

1. “Inquiring about” an applicant’s salary history throughout the entire employment process; and/or
2. Relying on the salary history of a job applicant when determining an applicant’s salary amount at any stage in the employment process, including when negotiating a contract.

What can employers ask instead? Under the new law, employers will be able to discuss any of the following regarding a candidate’s salary history:

1. Discuss with an applicant the proposed or anticipated salary for the position, as well as an applicant’s salary expectations;
2. Inquire about “objective measures” of an applicant’s productivity, which could include expectations concerning revenue or sales attributable to the applicant;
3. Discuss whether the applicant will be forfeiting equity or deferred compensation by taking the positon; and
4. Consider an employee’s salary history if the applicant’s disclosure is made “voluntarily and without prompting.”

This new law amends the New York City Human Rights Law. Any violation of the law will be deemed an “unlawful discriminatory practice” and will result in a civil penalty of up to $125,000 for an unintentional violation and up to $250,000 if the violation is willful and malicious. Under the law, applicants will now be able to pursue claims against employers with either the New York City Commission on Human Rights or directly in court.

Please see the FAQs and job applicant and employer fact sheets to learn about the new law in more detail, and get information and overall “best practices” for the hiring process.