New York City has been a known pioneer in pay equity, having been one of the first cities to adopt Ban The Box laws that require employers to remove from job applications the check box that asks the applicant if he/she has a criminal record. Now, the city continues its mission of equal pay, putting into effect a prohibition on inquiries into the salary histories of job applicants.

As of October 31, 2017, it is illegal for New York City employers to inquire about job candidates’ salary histories. The New York City Commission on Human Rights in anticipation of the new law going into effect, had previously released fact sheets detailing some of the changes. The information explained how most applicants for new employment — from full-time employees, part-time, interns, and independent contractors – are protected under the new law.

Additionally, under the law, employers can’t contact former employers for salary information or research it via public records for use in determining the pay they will offer to the job applicants they want to hire.

Employers are able to state salary ranges for positions, ask potential employees of their desired salaries should they be hired, and inquire about work performance and job responsibilities from past employers.

While New York City is the first to make all salary history inquiries illegal, companies whose operations include New York City should make necessary changes on a nationwide and worldwide level for their companies. As equal pay laws continue to evolve, expect more states and cities to draft similar laws. It’s time to get on board and be proactive.

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