Newly enacted amendments to the New York City Human Rights Law (the “Amendments”) with an effective date of October 31, 2017 will, under most circumstances, prohibit inquiry into a job applicant’s pay history (see our advisory last month detailing the Amendments, here). As of October 31, New York City employers may no longer (i) inquire about an applicant’s salary history, which is defined to include prior or current wages, benefits, or other compensation; or (ii) rely on an applicant’s salary history in determining the salary, benefits, or other compensation for that applicant, including as part of the negotiation of an employment contract.

Since this legislation was passed by the New York City Council, a federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania entered an order staying the enforcement of a similar law in Philadelphia. In that lawsuit, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia has argued, among other things, that the law unlawfully restricts employers’ speech in violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The New York City business community has yet to mount a similar challenge to the Amendments. In the absence of a court order enjoining enforcement of the Amendments, businesses with employees in New York City should review their practices concerning pay history inquiries in anticipation of the October 31 effective date.