This bill intends to amend the labor law to prohibit employers form seeking salary history from prospective employees for the purposes of setting prospective wages. The Business Council of New York State, Inc., on behalf of its more than 2,300 members, opposes this proposed legislation.
This bill is based on the presumption that the compensation market continues to discriminate against women and minorities and that to rely on this “market” information would perpetuate this market bias. This bill does nothing to address this continued market disparity. Instead, it sets employers up for non-compliance subject to the motivations of the applicant. This bill allows applicants to “voluntarily” provide prior salary history (true or not) to support a wage higher than one offered by the prospective employer. This bill will have no impact on any type of desired market correction.
Instead, this bill establishes disproportionate and significant fines and penalties for employers who fail to make administrative changes. For instance, failing to remove “previous salary history” from employment applications – something found on many applications today – would result in an initial fine of $1,000 for a first violation, increasing up to $3,000 per subsequent violation. In addition, the employer would be liable to each employee or prospective employee who was the subject of the violation for damages including attorney’s fees. These fines are beyond the pale for such a minor administrative violation that will have no demonstrable impact on correcting labor market deficiencies.
Further, should this bill become law, it would do nothing to eliminate the many and myriad salary history prohibitions found in many local and county laws. At a minimum, any law addressing this issue should provide for preemption of local laws thus helping to minimize any administrative impact.
The Business Council supports efforts to eliminate pay inequities in the marketplace and New York State – through its Equal Pay Act – already has the nation’s most comprehensive protections against pay discrimination based on age, race, sex, etc. This bill will have no impact on these market inequities and will only reduce further the ability of New York employers to compete in the national market.
For these reasons, The Business Council opposes this legislation and respectfully urges that it not be enacted.