By: Grace Cho
On May 4, 2017, Mayor Bill De Blasio signed Intro. 1253, a bill that bars employers, both private and public, from inquiring about salary history. Additionally, employers may not conduct any public information search on a prospective employee, or use the salary history to determine benefits or salary unless the prospective employee supplies the information “willingly and without any prompting.” The goal is to determine salary based on market factors and to close the gender wage gap in New York City (“NYC”). The bill will take effect on October 31, 2017. Other places, such as Delaware, Massachusetts, San Francisco, Oregon and Philadelphia have enacted a similar salary history ban.
Although the bill doesn’t take effect until October 2017, the city will prepare employees and utilize educational materials to educate New York City workers of their rights.  The goal is for prospective employees to understand their right to “negotiate a fair salary and prevent underpayment throughout their professional life.” To encourage the salary history ban, the city of New York placed penalties on employers who choose to disregard the law. Beginning on October 31, 2017, prospective employees can file a complaint with the NYC Commission on Human Rights if an employer doesn’t abide by this law. Civil penalty fines can be up to 250,000 dollars, and compensatory damages may be awarded.  This law ensures that employers will no longer have a “benchmark” to determine a prospective employee’s starting pay.  This gives both employees and employers room to negotiate.
According to an August 2016 study, commissioned by the New York City Public advocate, women get paid about eighty seven percent of what men get paid in New York. Every year in New York State, women collectively earn about twenty billion dollars less than men, and in New York City, women get paid almost six billion dollars less than men.A study done by Payscale ascertained that both male and female “refusers” were more likely to earn a higher salary in their current jobs than those who revealed their salary history.” The salary history ban benefits men and women in gaining a higher salary.
Even though the salary history ban is beneficial to women and men, employers and industry groups are not so supportive. The Philadelphia chamber of commerce stated that businesses are opposing the city’s equity law and filed a suit to enjoin the new law. The future of the salary history ban is unknown for Philadelphia. Employers and employees must monitor the lawsuit carefully and should “review” the “interviewing and hiring practices” in case the judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania decides to rule in favor of the city.
 Jillian Jogensen, Mayor de Blasio signs legislation to ban employers from seeking salary history of applicants, N.Y. Daily News (May 4, 2017, 11:30 PM), http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/nyc-illegal-applicants-asked-salary-history-article-1.3138471.
 Levi Perkins, Salary History Bans Gain Momentum, Corp. Screening (Aug. 3, 2017), https://www.corporatescreening.com/2017/08/03/salary-history-bans-gain-momentum/.
 Mayor de Blasio Signs Bill Prohibiting All NYC Employers From Inquiring About Salary History of Job Applicants, Nyc (May 4, 2017), http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/285-17/mayor-de-blasio-signs-bill-prohibiting-all-nyc-employers-inquiring-salary-history-job#/0.
 William D. Cohan, Salary Hisoty: Wall Street Can’t Ask, and You Needn’t Tell, N.Y. Times (June 13, 2017), https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/13/business/dealbook/job-salary-pay-women-men-wall-street.html.
 Lydia Frank, Why Banning Questions About Salary History May Not Improve Pay Equity, Harv. Bus. Rev. (Sept. 5, 2017), https://hbr.org/2017/09/why-banning-questions-about-salary-history-may-not-improve-pay-equity.
 Dori Goldstein, More Laws Enacted To Ban Salary History Inquiries, BNA (July 5, 2017), https://www.bna.com/delaware-oregon-enact-b73014453430/.
 Tricia L. Nadolny, Chamber files new suit, leaving city’s wage equity law on hold, The Inquirer (June 14, 2017, 1:22 PM), http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/city/chamber-files-new-suit-leaving-citys-wage-equity-law-on-hold-20170614.html.
 Susan Gross Sholinsky & Nancy L. Gunzenhauser, Philadelphia’s Salary History Law Temorarily Stayed Pending Lawsuit, Nat’l L. Rev. (Apr. 24, 2017), https://www.natlawreview.com/article/philadelphia-s-salary-history-law-temporarily-stayed-pending-lawsuit.