New York City bans employers from asking past or current salaries, as more cities follow suit to protect minorities

New York City has become the latest city to ban employers from asking job applicants about their pay at current or past jobs, in a bid to stamp out pay discrimination experienced by women or minorities.

New York City joins Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, and Philadelphia and over 20 cities in total that have introduced similar bills.

The bill is based on the notion that employers “anchor” salaries based on current or previous earnings, meaning if an employee had faced pay discrimination at a previous job, asking to reveal past or current salary would perpetuate the discrimination.

“Being underpaid once should not condemn one to a lifetime of inequity,” said New York City Public Advocate Letitia James in a statement.

“So many companies operate in multiple jurisdictions,” said Fatima Goss Graves, president-elect of the National Women’s Law Center.

“If a company changes its practices in New York, it is likely to also make changes around the country.”

However, Kathryn Wylde, president and chief executive of the Partnership for New York said “closing the gender pay gap is important,” but that most of the city’s employers were taking their own steps to address the issue.

“Inserting the city government into the relationship between employer and potential employee is potentially disadvantageous to both.”

Meanwhile in Philadelphia a similar measure is facing a legal challenge from the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. According to the case the bill violates employers’ First Amendment rights.

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