Have you ever looked at a job opening and wondered whether you were wasting your time applying because you had no idea if the salary would be acceptable? Or wondered whether you were being offered a lower salary than other applicants based on your race or your gender? In NYC, thanks to employee advocates, including our partner Miriam Clark, you won’t likely face that problem again. (B. Lehrer, Debating NYC’s Salary Transparency Law, April 11, 2022; M. Clark, Testimony on Local Law 134.).
Effective November 1, 2022, New York City takes an important step toward eliminating pay inequity, by requiring employers of four or more employees, or one or more domestic workers, as well as employment agencies, to provide the salary range they in good faith believe they are willing to pay when posting any advertisement for a job, promotion, or transfer opportunity that can or will be performed in New York City.
The posted salary range cannot be open-ended (such as “$15/hour and up” or “minimum of $50,000/year”); it must state both the minimum and maximum. However, the law does not require disclosure of other benefits such as health insurance, pensions or bonuses.
Employers and employment agencies that are found to have violated the new law may have to pay monetary damages to affected employees, amend advertisements and postings, create or update policies, conduct training, provide notices of rights to employees or applicants, and engage in other forms of affirmative relief. Complaints about violations can be made to the NYC Commission on Human Rights or, if made by current employees, brought in court. Although the NYC Commission won’t impose penalties for first offenders if they remedy the violation within 30 days, penalties can go as high as $250,000.
The new law was sponsored by former Council Member Helen Rosenthal and was the subject of unflagging advocacy by workers’ rights groups citywide, including NELA/NY, Legal Momentum, PowHer NY and CWA Local 1180.
The New York State Legislature has passed similar salary transparency legislation, S9427A/A10477, which is currently awaiting Governor Hochul’s signature. The city of Ithaca and Westchester County have also followed suit.
The new salary transparency legislation is a welcome companion to recent New York State and New York City laws that prohibit employers from asking prospective or current employees about their salary history and compensation. The New York State law also prohibits businesses from seeking similar information from other sources.
These laws were enacted to address the historic wage discrimination against women and people of color by assuring that everyone has full knowledge of what a job pays, and that prior wage discrimination is not carried forward throughout someone’s career.
If you think your rights have been violated under these laws, you should seek legal counsel.