Discussing Current Salary During an Interview

By Douglas Lipsky

Can I Be Asked About My Current Salary During An Interview? Is It Legal To Ask An Applicant’s Salary History? No.

The New York City Human Rights Law now prohibits employers, employment agencies and their agents from the following:

  1. Inquiring about an applicant’s salary history.
  2. Relying on an applicant’s salary history to determine the salary, benefits or other compensation for that person during the hiring process, including in negotiating a contract.

The term “inquiry” is broadly defined under the bill. It means “any question or statement to an applicant, an applicant’s current or prior employer, or a current or former employee or agent of the applicant’s current or prior employer, in writing or otherwise, for the purpose of obtaining an applicant’s salary history.”

The term “salary history” is also broadly defined under the agreement. It includes an applicant’s “current or prior wage, benefits or other compensation.”

The bill does however allow inquiries under certain circumstances. Employers may consider and verify an applicant’s salary information to determine their salary IF the applicant voluntarily and without any prompting discloses their salary. An employer can also ask an individual about what they expect to get paid.

The bill would not apply in the following:

  • Internal transfer applicants.
  • If federal, state or local law allows disclosing or verifying the salary.

This bill will ultimately continue to expand the Human Rights Law’s scope, making it important to discuss with an employment attorney before and after the interview process.

About the Author
Douglas Lipsky is a co-founding partner of Lipsky Lowe LLP. He has extensive experience in all areas of employment law, including discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, breach of contract, unpaid overtime, and unpaid tips. He also represents clients in complex wage and hour claims, including collective actions under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and class actions under the laws of many different states. If you have questions about this article, contact Douglas today.