New Jersey and New York Join Growing Trend of Banning Salary History Inquiries

Both New Jersey and New York State have recently passed legislation restricting employers from obtaining or considering the salary history of applicants and employees when making hiring and compensation decisions.

New Jersey’s law, which takes effect on January 1, 2020, prohibits employers from screening applicants based on their salary history and from requiring that applicants’ salary history meet any minimum or maximum criteria. Exceptions to this general prohibition include, but are not limited to, where an applicant voluntarily discloses such information or where the employer is considering an employee for an internal transfer or promotion. Additionally, once an employer has presented an offer of employment to an applicant, including an “explanation of the overall compensation package,” the employer may request that the applicant authorize the employer to confirm salary history.

New York’s law, which takes effect on January 6, 2020, prohibits employers from relying on the salary history of an applicant in determining whether to offer the applicant a position or the salary that will be offered, although applicants may voluntarily disclose their salary history. The law also bans employers from seeking the salary history of an applicant or current employee, whether through the individual herself or a former or current employer. However, if an employer makes an offer of employment and the applicant provides salary history information in order to negotiate a higher salary, the employer may confirm such information. The law also prohibits retaliation – including a refusal to hire – against an applicant or employee based on the individual’s salary history, or who refused to provide salary history, or who filed a complaint alleging a violation of this law.

New York State employers must carefully review the local salary history laws that have already been enacted within the state – in New York City and Albany, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties – to ensure compliance with all applicable laws.

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