Last August new legislation was proposed that would stop businesses in both the public and private sectors in New York City from asking prospective employees about their salary history. The New York City Council is expected to pass the bill as soon as Wednesday, April 5. This would be a huge win for all New Yorkers, but most especially the women. Discussing salary history with a possible future employer has been proven to perpetuate the gender wage gap, according to equal pay advocates.
The new legislation was proposed by Letitia James, a New York public advocate who serves as a middle man between the city’s government and its citizens. James is the one who encouraged Mayor Bill de Blasio to sign an executive order that would ban city agencies from asking about potential future clients' salary history. If the legislation is passed on Wednesday, this rule will extend to the private sector in New York City, as well. This means that NYC would join Massachusetts in banning salary history questions in the job interview process.
James spoke with MONEY about this legislation will do for New York City women. "It would address severe wage disparities and it would prohibit prospective employers from asking prospective employees their salary histories because women still do not earn the same amount as men," she said of her initiative. "Last year, my office released a report that found that women in New York were cheated out of $5.8 billion a year in lost wages, and so when employees used previous salary information to determine compensation it perpetuates the gender wage gap by relying on salaries that reflect the wage discrimination and don’t reflect the prospective candidate."
This new legislation is just the beginning for James. She plans to continue to fight for the citizens of New York City, especially the women. "What we really need to do is try to put in place some policies that could address that type of discrimination, including but not limited to asking whether or not we’re doing businesses with companies that don’t have women on their boards or executive committees and the like."
James finished up her interview with Money on a positive note, telling women they must continue to "agitate, agitate and agitate. We must never give up, and we must resist those forces who refuse to recognize the power and potency of women."