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How Can the Newly Implemented Salary Transparency Law Affect Me?

In New York City, gone are the days where, in their advertising, employers could hide salary requirements for positions either internally or externally.  On May 15, 2022, the City Council’s amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”), otherwise known as the “Salary Transparency Law,” takes effect.  This new amendment to the NYCHRL makes it an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to advertise a job opening, promotion, or transfer opportunity without stating the minimum and maximum salary for the position.  This amendment affects both internal and external advertising and is set to allow potential employees to be more aware of what salaries they should be earning in an open position.

The Salary Transparency Law applies to all employers that have four or more employees or one or more domestic workers.  Thankfully, these four employees do not need to work in the same location or need to all work in New York City for the law to apply, meaning that so long as one employee works within New York City, the law will cover that workplace.  Furthermore, this law applies to all employment agencies, so long as the agency is not a temporary employment agency seeking applicants to join their pool of available workers.  However, should an employer work with one of these temporary employment agencies, they are required to follow the Salary Transparency Law.  The new law affects any advertisement for a job, promotion, or transfer opportunity that is performed in New York City, but is does not affect any hiring that takes place without the use of advertisements and does not require an employer to use said advertisements in order to hire.

Pursuant to the new law, the employer must state the minimum and maximum salary levels that they, in good faith, believe at the time of posting that they would be willing to pay for an advertised job, promotion, or transfer opportunity.  The NYC Commission on Human Rights (“NYCCHR”), in their March 22, 2022, guidance on the matter, defined “good faith” here as “the salary range that the employer honestly believes at the time they are listing the job advertisement that they are willing to pay the successful applicant(s).” This salary range must include a minimum and maximum salary.  For example, the NYCCHR, in their guidance, gives examples that “$15 per hour and up” and “maximum $50,000 per year” would both fail to meet the standard required by the Salary Transparency Law.  If a job has no flexibility in pay, the minimum and maximum salary must be identical, such as “$20 per hour.”  Furthermore, if a company advertisement covers multiple positions, they must include salary ranges specific to each opportunity.  However, the advertisement does not need to cover other benefits that the job offers, such as insurances, paid or unpaid time off from work, and severance pay, among others.

Should a violation occur, an employee is entitled to file a complaint with the NYCCHR, which will accept and investigate the employee’s claims.  If an employer or employment agency is found to violate the NYCHRL, they may have to pay monetary damages and/or civil penalties for their violation, of up to $250,000, and be forced to amend advertisements and postings, update policies, and provide notices of rights to employees and applicants, and engage in other forms of affirmative relief.  Starting May 15, 2022, if you are the victim of a violation of the Salary Transparency Law, you should speak to the experienced New York employment law attorney.  To learn more or to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. for a free consultation.


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