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New Jersey Governor Signs Law Prohibiting Salary History Inquiries in State Employee Hiring

Effective Oct. 31, 2017, a new New York City law went into effect that declared inquiries into a prospective employee’s salary history to be a discriminatory practice. Earlier this year, New Jersey took an important first step toward providing similar protections to Garden State employees. The state’s new governor signed an executive order that bans the practice of salary history inquiries with regard to all hiring of public employees. The new order, which the new governor signed mere hours after his inauguration and which went into effect on Feb. 1, is intended to reduce the gender wage gap, reported. Whether it is illegal questions within a job interview or any other prohibited practice, if you think that you have been a victim of discrimination in the workplace, it is important to contact a knowledgeable New Jersey sex discrimination attorney right away.

The New York City law bans employers from asking about a prospective employee’s current and past earnings, and it goes further. The law says that, if the employer already has knowledge of the prospective employee’s current or past salary, it is forbidden from using that information in determining the compensation it will provide to that employee. The law also prohibits a prospective employer from asking a candidate’s current or previous employers salary history questions and bans searching publicly available records for that information.

The New Jersey executive order protecting public employees similarly bars employers from asking potential employees about their current or past salaries and also prohibits taking steps to investigate how much the potential employee makes or made in the past.

This executive order, and the protections it provides to public employees, may not be the last change to take place on this front when it comes to battling the gender wage gap. Last year, the state legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill that would have made salary history questions or investigation a prohibited discriminatory practice under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and that would have applied to all New Jersey employers. The previous governor vetoed that legislation.

In signing the executive order regarding the hiring of public employees, the current governor indicated that he would sign a statewide salary history inquiry prohibition bill (like the one vetoed by the previous governor) if one was to make it to his desk. Leaders in both chambers of the state legislature praised the executive order, and several members of the legislature appeared to show strong support for introducing a new bill that would prohibit any employer in New Jersey from asking about a prospective employee’s current or past salary, according to the report.

These new laws are important steps in addressing the gender wage gap. In the past, many employers have engaged in a practice of paying female employees with equal qualifications less than their male counterparts for the same or similar work. By allowing employers to base a prospective employee’s earnings on her past salary history, the law has indirectly allowed employers to perpetuate the wage gap. These new laws’ intent is to help reverse that gap.

If you believe that you have been a victim of gender discrimination, make sure you consult with legal counsel who is fully up to date on all of the relevant laws and rules. The skilled New Jersey sex discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates have been providing reliable representation to New Jersey workers for many years. Reach us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation and to find out how we can help you.

More blog posts:

New Jersey Corrections Officer Receives $316K Jury Award in Her Sex Discrimination Lawsuit, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, Feb. 6, 2018

New Jersey Township’s First Female Police Officer Receives $355,000 Sex Discrimination Award, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, May 4, 2017

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