New York Passed Two Anti-Wage Discrimination Laws

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed two bills that are designed to prevent gender-based wage discrimination. Upon signing, the governor stated: "There is no rationale why women should not get paid what men get paid.” The two laws are known as the Pay Equity Bill and the Salary History Bill.

Assembly Bill A8093A: The Pay Equity Bill

This bill states: “No employee WITH STATUS WITHIN ONE OR MORE PROTECTED CLASS OR CLASSES shall be paid a wage at a rate less than the rate at which an employee [of the opposite sex] WITHOUT STATUS WITHIN THE SAME PROTECTED CLASS OR CLASSES in the same establishment is paid for:”

  • Equal work that requires equal skill and is performed under comparable circumstances.
  • Substantially similar work performed under similar conditions.

Exceptions are allowed for:

  • Seniority.
  • A merit system.
  • A system that measures earnings based on quality or quantity of production.
  • Another bona fide factor such as education, experience or additional training.

Senate Bill S6549: The Salary History Bill

This bill prohibits New York employers from asking job seekers about their salary history for the purpose of “a job interview, job application, job offer, or promotion.” It states:

  • Employers may not ask about or require applicants to divulge their salary or wage history as a condition of an employment offer or promotion.
  • If a candidate’s salary is known, employers may not use that information when determining what level of compensation to offer.
  • No employer may retaliate against an applicant or employee who refuses to divulge their salary history.

Written Statement Upon Denial Of License Or Employment

At the request of any person previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses who has been denied a license or employment, a public agency or private employer shall provide, within thirty days of a request, a written statement setting forth the reasons for such denial.

Limitations Of Credit Reports

New York employers may not consider an applicant’s credit history except for positions that are exempted from that law.

Fair Credit Reporting Act 380-J - Prohibited Information

Background checks that New York employers use when making hiring decisions cannot contain:

  • Information about criminal charges that did not result in a conviction.
  • Convictions that are more than seven years old.
  • Paid tax liens that are more than seven years old.
  • Other adverse information that is more than seven years old.
  • Bankruptcies that are more than fourteen years old.

Effective August 5, 2017

Employers Are Prohibited From Asking About Salary History

The New York City Council passed Introduction 1253-2016 on April 5, 2017. This law is scheduled to go into effect 180 days after being passed. It will prohibit employers from:

  • Asking about a prospective employee's salary history during all stages of the employment process unless an applicant voluntarily and without prompting divulges that history.
  • Relying on salary history to determine what salary, benefits or other compensation to offer.

Exceptions will be made for positions in which federal, state or local laws authorize or require the employer to use a person's salary history when determining a level of compensation.

Effective August 5, 2017

The New York City Commission On Human Rights (NYCCHR) Approved An Updated Version Of The Fair Chance Act (FCA)

The New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) approved an updated version of the Fair Chance Act (FCA) that went into effect on August 5, 2017. These updates amended the Human Rights Law provisions which prohibit discriminatory practices against job applicants, employees and others who have arrest records or criminal convictions. New York employers should be aware that these laws:
  • Specify chargeable violations under the Human Rights Law.
  • Define per se violations of the provisions that were added to the Human Rights Law.
  • Clarify the type of questions and statements that employers may not ask in regards to an individual's criminal history.
  • Explain that employers may not ask for information about arrests that did not lead to convictions or take any adverse action against employees or job applicants due to non-convictions.
  • Define how liability is established if an employer inadvertently discovers that an applicant has a criminal conviction before a provisional job offer is extended. Liability only occurs if the employer uses that information to determine whether or not to extend a conditional job offer.
  • Create a "discretionary mechanism for the Commission to resolve Commission-initiated charges of certain per se violations under the FCA by offering eligible respondents an option for expedited resolution."
  • Provide details about how an employer must consider criminal convictions in regards to the individual's job duties and the safety of the workplace, current staff and public.
  • Establish the circumstances under which an employer may revoke a conditional job offer. Employers must follow the Fair Chance Process, which includes:
    • Analyzing the conviction to determine whether or not it would hold any bearing on the individual's ability or fitness to perform the required job duties.
    • Considering relevant factors such as how much time has passed since the conviction and the age the person was at the time of their conviction.
    • Evaluating whether or not the applicant could present a legitimate threat to property, other employees and the public.
    • Providing a written copy of any inquiry the employer made to obtain criminal history information about the applicant.
    • Completing an Article 23-A analysis (if the employer feels an applicant may present an "unreasonable risk") and then providing a written copy to the applicant.
    • Informing the applicant that they shall have a reasonable amount of time to review this information and address any potential issues.
    • Reviewing and considering any information an applicant offers to dispute or explain the reason for their conviction.
  • Call for employers to give applicants a reasonable amount of time to respond after completing the Fair Chance Process. Applicants are allowed no fewer than three business days (starting from the time an applicant receives the Fair Chance Notice and a copy of the inquiry) to respond, and employers are asked to consider the following when determining how much time to allot:
    • What information the applicant is collecting to present on their behalf and whether or not this information could modify the employer's decision based on the results of their Article 23-A analysis.
    • Why an applicant might need additional time to collect this information.
    • How urgently a position must be filled.
    • Any other relevant information.
  • During this time, the employer may not permanently place another individual into the position to which the applicant was applying.
  • Define the steps that must occur if an applicant disputes the results of their criminal background check:
    • The applicant must inform the employer and request time to gather proof of the error.
    • If the applicant is able to show that no conviction occurred, the employer may not withdraw the conditional job offer.
    • If the applicant is able to show that the conviction information is incorrect, the employer must then perform another Article 23-A analysis using the corrected information.
  • Inform employers that if they wish to revoke a conditional offer (after the steps listed above are completed) they must inform the applicant in writing.

Exemptions exist for certain federal, state or local law enforcement positions.

The New York City Council Enacted Int 1253-2016

The New York City Council also enacted Int 1253-2016, which prohibits employers from "inquiring about a prospective employee's salary history during all stages of the employment process" or from using an individual's previous salary history to make decisions about compensation, if that history is already known.

In August, a lawsuit was filed against a New York employer (Barclays Events Center, LLC: DBA Barclays Center, Levy Restaurants, Inc., and Professional Sports Catering LLC). According to the suit, Barclays violated the FCA by using "flawed and discriminatory criminal history screening policies and practices" and not providing a Fair Chance Act Notice, which is now required in New York.

This lawsuit is a clear indicator that employers who do not update their screening policies to accommodate current laws could face legal actions.
Backgrounds Online provides details about State Laws for informational purposes only. We do not provide legal services. Nothing on these pages or our site should be considered as legal advice or opinion.