NY Employers Can No Longer Ask You This Sensitive Question

Keely Sharp
Written by Keely Sharp

If you have ever switched jobs, then you know the infamous and awkward question of : “How much did you make at your previous job?”

You are then faced with telling your potential new employer just how much or how little you were making at your previous place of employment, and this could either undersell you, or make you seem too expensive of an asset.

You aren’t the only one gets flustered at this question. New York legislation voted Wednesday to  ban employers from asking about previous salaries. Finally, a good decision from legislation!

The idea is beginning to spread, as New York joins Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, and Philadelphia. Many other cities have proposed the bill as well. So, whose next?

Washington Post reports:

The measure, aimed at tackling pay inequity, prohibits employers from asking the candidate’s current or former employers about salary, as well as querying public records for it, although applicants can volunteer the information if they choose. The city’s Public Advocate, Letitia James, said it would affect about 3.8 million workers when it takes effect in six months and extends the prohibition to private employers. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) had earlier passed orders that would ban salary history details from public-sector jobs.

The thinking behind the new law is that when employers ask about an applicant’s salary history, they can end up perpetuating any discrimination that women or people of color may have faced in the past. When employers ask about current or previous salary, they can hear a number that “anchors” them, and then offer to pay some percentage more on a figure that could already be too low. “Being underpaid once should not condemn one to a lifetime of inequity,” James said in a statement.

It’s a great idea, honestly. It creates more of a level playing field. Now, as an applicant, if you would like to voluntarily tell the interviewer your previous numbers and discuss it from there, then you throw it out there all you want. However, the interviewer cannot ask you about it on their own.

Do you agree with this new law?

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Keely Sharp

Keely Sharp

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