NYC bans queries about job candidates' wage history
- New York City became the latest jurisdiction to ban employers from asking job candidates about their pay history, Mondaq reports. The practice potentially discriminates against job candidates by basing current wages on candidates’ past earnings, which might reveal and ultimately perpetuate pay inequities.
- The law prohibits employers from directly asking job applicants about their pay history or conducting a background search for this information. The law also bans employees from basing applicants’ wages on their pay history at any phase in the employment process, unless applicants disclose the information willingly and without being forced to do so.
- The bill is expected to become law in 180 days once Mayor Bill de Blasio signs it.
“Salary history” based on the law refers to past wages, benefits and other forms of compensation, but not earnings gained through productivity, such as revenue or sales. Asking job candidates about their pay history is a common practice in recruiting. However, it doesn't account for or simply dismissed the idea of pay disparities based on race, gender, age and other differences among workers.
A Willis Towers Wilson survey, 2016 Global Workforce Study, showed that half of employees don’t think they’re paid fairly and half of employers think they don’t have the mechanism to ensure that they are. HR can work with managers on conducting pay audits to uncover pay inequities, review pay rates based on avocations, industries, education and experience and eliminate any disparities. Also, employers should remove any references to pay history in job applications and train recruiters and interviewers in avoiding direct inquiries into candidates’ pay history.
Georgetown University and the University of Maryland have curricula in HR studies on supporting pay equity.