Legal Media Analysts

Thursday, July 11, 2019

New York State Enacts Pay Equity Legislation Creating Potential Exposure to All Employers

On July 10, 2019, Governor Cuomo signed two pieces of legislation into law aimed at curbing wage discrimination in the workplace. As a result, all employers in New York State must train managers, and human resources employees and immediately modify hiring, promotion and pay practices to ensure compliance with these new laws and avoid substantial exposure.

The first law, S5248B, amends the Labor Law to prohibit employers from paying an employee a lower wage based on any protected class (The Labor Law previously only prohibited differential pay based on sex). The new law also makes it easier for an employee to prove wage discrimination. Employers were previously only required to provide employees equal pay for "equal work" performed under "similar working conditions." The new lower standard requires the employer to pay employees for "substantially similar work when viewed as a composite of skill, effort and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions."

The second law, S6549, prohibits employers from asking a job applicant or employee about their salary history and considering salary history in hiring or other employment decision even if the individual voluntarily discloses his or her salary history. An employer may only confirm an applicant or employee's salary history if in response to an offer, the individual discloses his or her salary history to negotiate a higher salary.

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