On November 1, 2022, New York City’s pay transparency law took effect. The new law, enacted in January 2022, is a major step toward ensuring pay equity for New York City workers because it requires most New York City employers to disclose salary ranges in their job postings.
Employee Rights Under the New Pay Transparency Law
As of last week, all New York City employers that have four or more employees or one or more domestic workers must “include a good faith salary range for every job, promotion, and transfer opportunity advertised.” The requirement applies if just one of the employees works in New York City. The law covers individuals seeking full-time or part-time work, and it also applies to job postings for interns, domestic workers, independent contractors, or any other category of worker protected by the NYCHRL.
When posting a job opening, employers now have to state both the minimum and maximum salary an employee could expect to earn at the job. Open-ended salary ranges are insufficient; for example, an employer cannot simply advertise that an applicant can expect to receive a salary of “up to $60,000” or “at least $15 per hour.” Instead, according to guidance issued by the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the employer must list “the minimum and maximum salary they in good faith believe at the time of the posting they are willing to pay for the advertised job, promotion, or transfer opportunity.”
How Will the Law Be Enforced?
The Commission is tasked with investigating potential violations of the law. And an employee who believes that their current employer has violated the pay transparency law can file a complaint with the Commission and a lawsuit in civil court.
The Purpose of the Law
New York City is one of several jurisdictions that has enacted or considered pay equity legislation in recent years. These laws seek to rectify the considerable pay gaps that many workers continue to face due to discrimination based on factors such as race, gender, disability, and sexual orientation. For example, New York State passed similar pay transparency legislation in June 2022, pending signature by Governor Kathy Hochul. The express justification for the bill is to remedy “unacceptable pay gaps [ ], particularly for women, people of color, people with disabilities and LGBTQ+ workers across New York State.” As explained in the bill, “Pay secrecy remains a key contributing factor in perpetuating wage inequality and discrimination. Because salary decisions are made in the dark, implicit or overt biases continue to shape hiring and salary setting decisions, artificially depressing wages for women and people of color. Meanwhile, lower-wage workers, including those most impacted by the COVID -19 pandemic, lack the information and leverage needed to negotiate fair salaries to escape these discriminatory practices.”
Requiring employers to disclose critical salary information in job postings will hopefully reduce these pay disparities, force employers to set wages transparently, and empower workers to negotiate for equal pay.
If you have questions about your rights as an employee, you should consult with an employment lawyer. Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP has experienced employment lawyers in New York, Washington DC, Baltimore, San Francisco, San Diego, and Tennessee. For more information about your rights and our legal services, contact us online now.