New York City Could Be the Next Place to Ban Employers From Asking About Salary Histories

By
Public Advocate Letitia James.
Public Advocate Letitia James.Photo: Walter McBride/Getty Images

Last week, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker made his state the first in the nation to pass a law that bans employers from asking prospective employees about their salary histories. Now, with the help of Public Advocate Letitia James, New York City could be the next place to enact this measure.

James introduced the new legislation on Wednesday, saying, “Requesting a prospective employee’s salary history perpetuates inequitable wages for women and prolongs the cycle of wage discrimination.” A report released by her office in the spring found that women make up 49 percent of New York City’s workforce, and that compared to a national average of 64 cents to the dollar, black women in the city earn only 55 cents to a man’s dollars. For Hispanic women, it’s 46 cents and white women earn 84 cents.

Not asking for salary histories in job interviews is one way to force employers to pay women according to their experience and not undercut them based on their gender. And with a new paid-family-leave policy already passed in New York, the city could be torchbearers for making the workplace just a little bit fairer for women.