Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On April 10, 2018 – Equal Pay Day – Westchester County Executive George Latimer signed the Wage History Anti-Discrimination Law to ban employers from asking about the salary history of applicants on applications or during interviews to prevent the perpetuation of the gender wage gap. The law takes effect on July 9, 2018.

Starting on that date, under the Wage History Anti-Discrimination Law – which passed the Westchester County Board of Legislators with a 16-0 vote – it shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for employers, employment agencies, licensing agencies, employees, or agents in Westchester County, New York to:

  • Rely on the wage history of a prospective employee from any current or former employers of the individual in determining the wages for such individual; provided than an employer may rely on prior wage history when it is voluntarily provided by a prospective employee to support a wage higher than the wage offered by the employer;
  • Orally, or in writing, request or require as a condition of being interviewed, or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment, or as a condition of employment, that a prospective employee disclose information about the employee’s own wages from any current of former employee; and
  • Orally, or in writing, seek from any current or former employers the previous wages of any prospective employee; provided; however, that an employer may seek to confirm prior wage information only after an offer of employment with compensation has been made to the prospective employee and the prospective employee responds to the offer by providing prior wage information to support a wage higher than offered by the employer. Under these circumstances, the employer may only seek to confirm prior wages after obtaining written authorization by the prospective employee to do so.

In addition, under the Wage History Anti-Discrimination Law an employer shall not refuse or otherwise retaliate against an employee or prospective employee based upon prior wage or salary history or because the employee or prospective employee has opposed any act or practice made unlawful by the law.

The law in Westchester County mirrors legislation passed by the New York City Council in April 2017 that prohibits employers from inquiring about the salary history of job applicants or from relying on salary history information to determine salary if that information is already known. That law took effect on October 31, 2017.

A 2013 study from the American Association of University Women found women get paid 6.6 percent less than men in their first jobs. When it comes to subsequent jobs, employers often inquire about a candidate’s salary history as a basis for establishing their new salary, which worsens gender pay inequality over time.

In 2015, women earned 80 percent of what men earned, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The gender wage gap has narrowed by less than one-half a penny per year in the United States since 1963, according to the National Committee on Pay Equity, when Congress passed the Equal Pay Act of 1963.

States, counties, and cities have passed laws prohibiting employers from seeking salary history as part of a growing equal pay movement to narrow the gender wage gap between women and men. This is one of the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2018 selected by Employment Screening Resources (ESR).

“When employers have a background screening firm perform past employment verifications, it is critical that the screening firm has the knowledge about states, counties, and cities that prohibit salary history questions and software that helps facilities compliance,” explained ESR founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen.

ESR won the 2018 TekTonic Award from HRO Today Magazine that recognizes innovation and disruption in the world of HR and recruiting technology for its ESR Assured Compliance® system that automatically updates all notices, disclosures, and other compliance processes when state or federal requirements change.

More ESR News Blogs about Bans on Salary History Questions

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a leading global background check provider – offers more ESR News blogs about laws banning salary history questions by employers at www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/salary-history/. To learn more about background screening solutions from ESR, please visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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