February 21, 2020

February 21, 2020

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February 19, 2020

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New York, New Jersey Employers Now Prohibited From Inquiring About Salary History

As noted in our 2019 legislative update, New Jersey and New York have joined a growing number of states in prohibiting employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. Both states’ legislation became effective earlier this month after being signed into law last year. As of January 2020, other states that prohibit all private employers from inquiring into an applicant’s salary history include Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

Both laws prohibit public and private employers from soliciting job applicants’ past salaries and considering that information in making employment decisions, unless an applicant voluntarily discloses his or her pay. New York’s law is unique in that it also explicitly applies to current employees. New York issued guidance explaining that when deciding compensation to be paid to a current employee (say, for a promotion or new position within the company), employers may consider the salary or benefits it currently pays to the employee but may not ask the employee about his or her pay from previous jobs.

Notably, both laws also permit employers to confirm an applicant’s salary history after an employment offer has been made, provided certain conditions are met. New Jersey employers may confirm an applicant’s salary history upon the applicant’s written authorization, after it makes an employment offer that includes an explanation of the overall compensation package (read more on the New Jersey law). New York employers may do so only if the applicant responds to the offer by disclosing his or her wage history to negotiate for a higher wage or salary.

Employers should be aware of these new laws and endeavor to proactively prevent any inquiries into the salary histories of applicants (or in New York, employees as well) that may potentially violate these statutes.

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About this Author

Robert Bernstein, GreenbergTraurig Law Firm, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney
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Rob Bernstein focuses his practice on labor and employment exclusively for management, with an emphasis in litigation and counseling. With over 30 years of experience, Rob has represented many multinational and domestic corporations in a wide range of industries. His practice extends to numerous jurisdictions across the United States, involving most workplace issues, including class and collective actions, employee benefits and trade secret litigation.

Prior to joining the firm, Rob chaired the National Labor and Employment Department Steering...

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Jerrold Goldberg, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Labor and Employment, Real Estate and Education Attorney
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Jerrold F. Goldberg practices in the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s Labor-Management Relations group. He has been practicing in virtually all aspects of labor and employment law since 1979, including the traditional labor/union-management area, employment discrimination, executive employment, severance agreements and wage and hour laws. Jerry exclusively represents management clients primarily in the real estate and hospitality industries in transactional matters, including commercial and residential building and hotel sales and purchases, administrative compliance, such as 421-a prevailing wage issues, and lease, property management and concessionaire relationships, as well as all aspects of labor and employment litigation. This includes traditional labor litigation, such as union management arbitration, N.L.R.B. representation and unfair labor practice proceedings, and strike and picketing injunctive actions, wage and hour litigation involving misclassification, overtime and service charge/gratuity issues, and employment discrimination and restrictive covenant litigation in federal and state courts and administrative agencies.

Concentrations

  • Real estate transactional issues

  • Collective bargaining negotiations and arbitration

  • EEO litigation

  • Drafting of employment agreements/severance and release agreements/non-compete and non-solicit agreements

  • Wage and hour litigation

212-801-9209
Associate

Katarina Kingston is a member of the Labor & Employment Practice in Greenberg Traurig's New Jersey office. She focuses her practice on representing employers and managers in a variety of labor and employment law cases, including the defense of discrimination, retaliation, wrongful discharge, whistleblower, sexual harassment, and non-compete agreement cases.

Katarina also advises clients on internal employment relations matters, including the development of training programs, ensuring wage and hour compliance, and drafting personnel policies and employment agreements.

973-443-3225
Ryan P. O'Connor Associate Greenberg Traurig Labor & Employment
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Ryan O’Connor represents employers across multiple industries in connection with a variety of labor and employment law matters, including the defense of discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination claims. He also advises clients on internal employment matters, including employment contracts and separation agreements, employer policies and handbooks, and wage and hour compliance.

973-443-3563