Susan Gross Sholinsky and Nancy Gunzenhauser, attorneys in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, authored an article in Law360 titled “Redefining the Focus of Federal and State Equal Pay Laws.” (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

Many of the equal pay laws include pay transparency provisions, meaning that employers cannot create policies or enforce rules that would restrict an employee’s ability to discuss his or her wages with coworkers. Some of the equal pay amendments maintain exceptions to this rule, and some do not. For example, New York’s law provides two carve-outs. First, New York employees may not discuss or disclose the wages of another employee without that other employee’s consent. Second, New York employees who have access to wage information of other employees as a part of their essential job functions (e.g., human resources or payroll) may not share such wage information with others who do not otherwise have access to such information, except when certain circumstances are present (e.g., an investigation or government inquiry).

The Massachusetts bill, which is still in that state’s legislature, has another unique twist (one that actually passed the Legislature in California earlier this year but was vetoed by California’s governor). The Massachusetts equal pay law would prohibit employers from inquiring into an applicant’s salary history on an application or during interviews for employment. If successful, this provision would prevent an employer from asking applicants how much they earned at their past jobs when considering whether to make an offer of employment to an applicant.

Jump to Page

Privacy Preference Center

When you visit any website, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.

Strictly Necessary Cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.