New bill will prohibit employers from asking about an applicant’s salary

Can I be asked about my current salary during an interview? Is it legal to ask an applicant’s salary history?

If Mayor Bill de Blasio signs a bill the NYC Council just approved, the answer to those questions is no.

The bill will amend the New York City Human Rights Law to prohibit employers, employment agencies and their agents from the following:

-Inquiring about an applicant’s salary history; and

-Relying on an applicant’s salary history to determine the salary, benefits or other compensation for that person during the hiring process, including in negotiating a contract.

The term “inquiry” is broadly defined under the bill.  It means “any question or statement to an applicant, an applicant’s current or prior employer, or a current or former employee or agent of the applicant’s current or prior employer, in writing or otherwise, for the purpose of obtaining an applicant’s salary history.”

The term “salary history” is also broadly defined under the agreement.  It includes an applicant’s “current or prior wage, benefits or other compensation.”

The bill does however allow inquiries under certain circumstances. Employers may consider and verity an applicant’s salary information to determine their salary IF the applicant voluntarily and without any prompting discloses their salary. An employer can also ask an individual about what they expect to get paid.


The bill would not apply in the following:

-Internal transfer applicants

-If federal, state or local law allows disclosing or verifying the salary


This bill will ultimately continue to expand the New York City Human Rights Law’s scope, making it important to discuss with an employment attorney before and after the interview process.

You should contact Douglas Lipsky, a highly-experienced employment attorney, with any questions.