New York’s Suffolk County recently passed a county ordinance prohibiting employers from inquiring into an applicant’s salary history as a part of the hiring process.
Under this new law, which goes into effect on June 30, 2019, employers are prohibited from
- Inquiring about a job applicant’s wage or salary history, including but not limited to, compensation and benefits.
- “to inquire” means to ask an applicant or former employer orally, or in writing, or otherwise or to conduct a search of publicly available records or reports.
- Relying on the salary history of an applicant for employment in determining the wage or salary amount for such applicant at any stage in the employment process, including at offer or contract.
By passing this new law, Suffolk County becomes the fourth locality in New York State to enact a salary history ban law (joining New York City, Westchester County, and Albany County). To date, New York State has NOT enacted a statewide salary history ban law.
It is recommended that employers in Suffolk County verify that all employment application materials are updated to remove any requests for salary history – including job applications and job interview scripts. In addition, all employees who are involved in the hiring process are trained about the new requirement and informed that they are not allowed to inquire into applicant’s salary history.
It’s a wage and hour obligation that’s familiar to all employers – the requirement to pay employees at least minimum wage for every hour worked. It seems like a pretty simple obligation to meet, right? Not necessarily. With different state minimum wages and numerous localities passing local minimum wages, mistakes are easy to make and can be quite costly – as two rental car companies recently learned.
Washington State Employees of two nationwide rental car companies (Hertz and Thrifty) filed a class action lawsuit against their employer claiming that the employers failed to pay the employees’ at least minimum wage in accordance with the minimum wage ordinance in SeaTac, Washington, which increased the minimum wage for Hospitality and Transportation employees in SeaTac to $15.00 per hour in 2015 (and adjusts the minimum wage for inflation in subsequent years).
This lawsuit was recently settled for $2 million dollars.
Why Do I Care?
As of July 2017, over 30 localities* have adopted local minimum wages above their state minimum wage. If you have operations in any of these localities, then you are required to pay all employees at least the local minimum wage. It is recommended that you check the minimum wage in your locality and verify that you are in compliance with any local ordinance relating to minimum wage.
* Localities with local minimum wage:
- Arizona: Flagstaff.
- California: Berkeley, Cupertino, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Los Altos, Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, Malibu, Milpitas, Mountain View, Oakland, Palo Alto, Pasadena, Richmond, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, San Leandro, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Monica, and Sunnyvale.
- Illinois: Chicago and Cook County.
- Maine: Portland.
- Maryland: Montgomery County and Prince George’s County.
- New Mexico: Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, Las Cruces, Santa Fe City, and Santa Fe County.
- New York : New York City, Nassau County, Suffolk County, and Westchester County
- Oregon: Portland Urban Growth Boundary.
- Washington: SeaTac, Seattle, and Tacoma.