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Suffolk County, New York Enacts Salary History Ban

The Suffolk County, NY Legislature has unanimously enacted a bill that will prohibit employers and their agents from inquiring about job applicants’ wage or salary history during the hiring process. The Restricting Information on Salaries and Earnings Act (the “RISE Act”) goes into effect on June 30, 2019.

The RISE Act amends the Suffolk County Human Rights Law, which applies to employers with four or more employees.

The Act provides that it is an unfair discriminatory practice for an employer or employment agency (or an employee or agent of same) to:

  • Inquire, whether in any form of application or otherwise, about a job applicant’s wage or salary history, including but not limited to, compensation and benefits.

  • Rely on the salary history of an applicant for employment in determining the wage or salary amount for such applicant at any stage in the employment process, including at offer or contract.

For purposes of the Act, “to inquire” means to ask an applicant or former employer orally, or in writing, or otherwise or to conduct a search of publicly available records or reports.

An employer, employment agency, employee or agent thereof may, however, seek to confirm wage information if required by applicable law or pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.  Unlike similar laws in New York City and Westchester, NY, which recognize certain additional exceptions to this prohibition including, for example, when the applicant makes an unprompted and willing disclosure of his or her salary history to the prospective employer, the Suffolk County law does not address this scenario or otherwise include any other exceptions.

Individuals alleging violations of the Act may file a complaint with the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission. Potential remedies include compensatory damages, payment to the Suffolk County general fund, and civil fines and penalties.

© 2020 Proskauer Rose LLP.

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About this Author

Evandro Gigante Labor and Employment Lawyer Proskauer Rose Law FIrm
Partner

Evandro Gigante is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration group and the Hiring & Terminations group. He represents clients through a variety of labor and employment matters, including allegations of sexual harassment, race, gender, national origin, disability and religious discrimination. Evandro also counsels employers through reductions-in-force, employee relations issues and other sensitive employment matters.

With a focus on discrimination and harassment claims,...

212.969.3132
Arielle Kobetz, Proskauer Law Firm, Labor and Employment Attorney
Associate

Arielle Kobetz is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department. She assists employers in a wide range of areas, including discrimination, wage and hour, and traditional labor.

Prior to joining Proskauer, Arielle served as a law clerk at the New York City Human Resources Administration, Employment Law Unit, where she worked on a variety of employment discrimination and internal employee disciplinary issues. 

212-969-3304