On January 6, 2020, New York Labor Law Section 194-a (the “Salary History Law”) went into effect. The new section prohibits an employer from, either orally or in writing, personally or through an agent, asking any information concerning a job applicant’s salary history information. This includes previous compensation and benefits. The Salary History Law prohibits employers from considering an applicant’s salary history information at any point during the hiring process.

To Whom Does the Law Apply?

The Salary History Law covers all job applicants and current employees. The law applies to all public and private employers operating in New York State. Under the law, an applicant is any individual who has taken an affirmative step to seek employment with an employer and who is not currently employed with that employer, its parent company or a subsidiary. This includes applicants for part-time, seasonal and temporary positions but does not include independent contractors or freelance workers unless they are employed through an employment agency. Any employer who interviews a candidate for a position that is primarily based in New York State falls within the scope of the law.

Employers are also prohibited from requesting prior salary history information from current employees as a condition of being interviewed or considered for a promotion. Employers may consider the salary and benefits information of a current employee seeking a promotion if that information is already in the employer’s possession.

Differences Between the Salary History Law and Local Salary Laws

New York City and Suffolk County have salary inquiry laws that are currently in effect. While similar to the Salary History Law, the New York City and Suffolk County laws only apply to applicants, and do not cover current employees. New York City also recently enacted Int. 136-A, which extends the New York City Human Rights Law, including the city’s salary inquiry law, to independent contractors and freelancers. New York City employers are advised that despite the state’s Salary History Law’s exclusion of freelancers and contract workers, they cannot inquire about these applicants’ salary histories. majority opinion.


The new Salary History Law continues a trend of prohibiting employers from using an applicant’s salary history in the hiring process. The new law extends this prohibition to promotions and internal transfers of current employees. Employers are advised to train interviewers, human resources personnel and individuals involved in the hiring process to avoid making any inquiries about an applicant’s salary history, directly or indirectly, at any point in the hiring process.

Employers should also review current policies and application materials to ensure compliance with the law. Application materials should clearly state that the employer will not seek or request an applicant’s salary history in connection with the hiring process. Employers who utilize employment agencies should also ensure that their clients abide by the Salary History Law.

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We are available to advise and assist in drafting documents and policies that are
consistent with the new law.

Putney, Twombly, Hall & Hirson LLP