September 17, 2019

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New York Expands Salary Protections for Employees

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed two bills into law yesterday, amending Labor Law §194, to address the much-discussed "wage gap."

New York previously barred pay differences based on gender, but the law signed yesterday amends this measure to include all other protected classes. The new law greatly expands the pay-equity protections afforded by the federal Lily Ledbetter Equal Pay Act and the prior version of Labor Law §194. Employers now are prohibited from paying employees within a protected class differently from others outside the class for equal or "substantially similar work," the same broad standard used in New Jersey and California. Exceptions exist for pay differences based on seniority, merit, "quality or quantity of production," or another "bona fide factor," such as education, training, or experience.

Additionally, New York joined a growing list of states and municipalities barring employers from asking prospective employees about their previous salary. While applicants may, as a part of negotiations, voluntarily disclose their salary history, employers are prohibited from relying on prior history to determine the individual's salary offer. Presumably, an employer may raise a salary offer based on a voluntary disclosure, but it is unlikely that such a disclosure could be used to lower an offer.

In the last year, we have seen sweeping changes to the legal landscape for New York employers with more changes poised to be implemented in the coming days and weeks. As pay equity and salary history issues are increasingly in the news, New York employers should audit and review their compensation systems and hiring practices now. New York's amended pay equity law goes into effect in October 2019, but employers have until January 2020 to prepare for the salary history ban.

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Denise Keyser Employment Law Attorney Ballard Spahr
Partner

Denise M. Keyser has more than 30 years of experience representing national, regional, and locally based businesses in labor and employment matters, including traditional labor law (such as collective bargaining and arbitrations), OSHA, ERISA, wage and hour, employment-at-will, wrongful discharge, discrimination, management training, executive compensation, and affirmative action.

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Christopher Kelly, Ballard Spahr Law Firm, Philadelphia, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney
Attorney

Christopher J. Kelly is an attorney in Ballard Spahr's Labor and Employment group. Chris has represented both public and private employers in a broad range of litigated matters, including wage and hour, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblower, breach of contract, unfair competition, and wrongful termination, and employment- and business-related tort claims in both state and federal courts across the country.

Chris has served as lead counsel in a variety of matters and conducted trials to verdict and judgment. He has handled appeals before the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. 

Chris has significant experience serving the legal needs the public sector, higher education, and health care industries. He also has experience providing day-to-day employment counseling. 

Prior to joining the firm, Chris served as a Deputy Attorney General in the New Jersey Attorney General's Office, defending New Jersey public employers against employment-related statutory, constitutional, and tort claims. In addition, he practiced in Los Angeles for six years, initially as a sole practitioner and then as managing partner of a five-attorney firm where he handled California state and federal discrimination and wage and hour matters as well as commercial litigation.

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Marjoree Peerce Litigator  Criminal Defense Ballard Law FIrm
Partner

Marjorie J. Peerce is a litigator, with a practice focus on white collar criminal defense, regulatory matters, and complex civil litigation. In her more than 30 years of practice, she has handled matters across the criminal and regulatory spectrum. She is Co-Managing Partner of the firm's New York Office.

Ms. Peerce appears in New York state and federal courts, as well as in federal districts around the country. She has handled criminal and regulatory investigations concerning, for example, violations of the Internal Revenue Code, securities...

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Elliot I. Griffin, Ballard Spahr, Litigation lawyer
Associate

Elliot Imani Griffin is an associate in the Litigation Department who focuses her practice on labor and employment matters. During law school, Elliot interned with Exelon Corporation, a Fortune 100 energy company, where she researched recent National Labor Relations Board decisions to assess how they would impact Exelon's policies. She also wrote demand letters to address fake websites that were allegedly infringing upon the mark of Exelon and its subsidiaries, drafted motions, and assisted in the preparation for Pennsylvania Utility Commission hearings.

Elliot...

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