New York State recently passed two pay equity bills that expand protections for current employees and job applicants. And now, more than ever, employers in New York State should pay close attention to this rapidly changing legal landscape, Barbara Hoey and Diana Hamar from law firm Kelley Drye’s labor and employment practice write in JD Supra.

The first pay equity bill, which takes effect Oct. 8, implements a new standard for assessing pay discrimination claims under the New York Labor Law and expands protections from just gender to employees of all protected categories including age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status or domestic violence victim status.

The new law also provides an alternative standard to establish pay discrimination.  Employees previously had to prove they did not receive equal pay for “equal work.” Now, however, employees can succeed on the merits if they do not receive equal pay for “substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions.”

Following in the footsteps of local municipalities including New York City, Suffolk County, and Westchester County, the New York State legislature also recently passed a bill prohibiting employers from inquiring or relying upon the salary history of a job applicant in determining whether to extend a job offer and in setting an applicant’s salary. The salary history law also prohibits an employer from retaliating against an applicant who refuses to disclose salary history information.

New York City already has a salary history ban law, but it only applies to prospective employees; this new legislation also applies to current employees who are seeking internal transfers or promotions. When it takes effect on Jan. 6, 2020, employers in New York State will be prohibited from requesting or relying upon a current employee’s salary or salary history in determining whether to interview the current employee for a different position, determining whether to extend a current employee an offer for a different position or promotion, or in setting the current employee’s salary if transferred or promoted.

For more details, read the full JDSupra article here.