The Suffolk County, New York Legislature has passed the Restricting Information on Salaries and Earnings Act (the “RISE Act”), which will prohibit employers in Suffolk County with four (4) or more employees from inquiring about job applicants’ wage or salary history during the hiring process. The RISE Act amends the Suffolk County Human Rights Law and will go into effect on June 30, 2019.
With the passage of this new law, Suffolk County joins other localities within New York State, including Albany County, New York City, and Westchester County, in enacting salary history ban legislation.
Under the RISE Act, an employer or an employer’s agent (including an employment agency or employee) may not:
- 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. For purposes of this prohibition, “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.
- 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.
The RISE Act, however, specifically allows an employer or an employer’s agent to inquire about wage or salary history when such inquiries are made pursuant to: (1) federal, state, or local law or (2) a collective bargaining agreement.
Notably, the RISE Act does not include certain exceptions that are found in other salary history ban laws passed by localities within New York State. For example, employers in New York City and Westchester County may consider a job applicant’s salary history when the applicant makes an unprompted and willing disclosure of his or her salary history. The RISE Act does not expressly address this exception.
Before the RISE Act goes into effect on June 30, 2019, employers in Suffolk County should review their employment applications to ensure that applicants are not asked for their prior wage or salary information. Employers should also confirm that their interview and pre-employment background check procedures comply with the new law.