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NY State Passes Salary History, Equal Pay, and Race Discrimination Laws

Governor Cuomo has signed three bills that will impact employers in New York.

Salary History:  This new law bars inquiries about an employee’s salary history, including prohibiting employers from requesting or relying on past salary when determining the prospective new employee’s salary amount; this applies to new applicants and employees within the company that are applying for new positions. In addition, employers are prohibited from retaliating against an applicant who refuses to provide his or her salary history. The bill was signed on July 10th and goes into effect in 180 days.

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Equal Pay: The new law prohibits pay differentials that are based on any protected class status; this law requires equal pay for “substantially similar work” regardless of a person’s membership in any of the protected classes. The bill was signed on July 10th and goes into effect in 90 days.

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Race Discrimination Based on Hair or Hairstyle: This new law amends the protected class “race” to include “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.” Protective hairstyles include but is not limited to: “hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists.” This bill was signed on July 12th and went into effect immediately.

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HR Works will be doing a special segment in our upcoming HR Focus newsletter on how to prepare for the salary inquiry change. In the meantime, helpline clients can reach out to us at or 585-381-8340 x1 with any questions.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.