Last week, New York City joined the growing list of cities banning employers from asking job applicants about their current or past pay rates. The rationale is that employers base the salaries they offer to potential employees on their current or previous salary and thus, if an employee faced pay discrimination in a previous job, it would perpetuate pay discrimination. If an employer is already aware of a prospective employee’s past salary, the legislation prohibits them from using such information to determine the salary.
As with any issue, there are advocates on each side. Proponents say that being underpaid just once can follow an employee for their entire professional life. Opponents say the bans will increase litigation and unfairly restrict employers’ compensation decisions.