HR Alert

New York: Regulations Provide Standards for Limitations on Wage Discussions

Employers May Place Reasonable Limitations on Wage Discussions

New regulations in New York provide standards for limitations on the inquiry about, discussion of, or disclosure of wages amongst employees.

Background
Under state law (Labor Law, section: 194(4)), an employer generally may not prohibit an employee from inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing the wages of such employee or another employee. An employer may--in a written policy provided to all employees--establish reasonable workplace and workday limitations on the time, place, and manner for inquiries about, the discussion of, or the disclosure of wages.

New Regulations
Highlights of the new regulations include the following:

  • Reasonable Limitations. An employer may--in a written policy provided to an employee either electronically, through publicly available posting, or by paper copy--place reasonable limitations on the time, place, and manner that an employee may inquire about, discuss, or disclose wages.
    Such limitations must be justified without reference to the content of the regulated speech, narrowly tailored to serve a significant interest, and leave open ample alternative channels for the communication of information.
  • An employer may not impose restrictions on employees in such a way that unreasonably or effectively precludes or prevents the inquiry about, discussion of, or disclosure of wages at the worksite and/or during work hours (directly or in practice).
    Certain Prohibitions Allowed. An employer may prohibit an employee from discussing or disclosing the wages of another employee unless the other employee provides verbal or written permission (either directly or indirectly).
  • Reasonable Limitations. An employer may--in a written policy provided to an employee either electronically, through publicly available posting, or by paper copy--place reasonable limitations on the time, place, and manner that an employee may inquire about, discuss, or disclose wages.
    Such limitations must be justified without reference to the content of the regulated speech, narrowly tailored to serve a significant interest, and leave open ample alternative channels for the communication of information.
  • An employer may not impose restrictions on employees in such a way that unreasonably or effectively precludes or prevents the inquiry about, discussion of, or disclosure of wages at the worksite and/or during work hours (directly or in practice).
    Employees with Access to Wage Information. An employer may also limit an employee who has access to wage information of other employees as part of that employee's essential job functions as set forth in state law (Labor Law, section: 194(4)(d)).
    Recordkeeping. The employer must maintain copies of its written policies during the period of applicability and for 6 years following such period.

Additional details are contained in the text of the regulations (p. 10). The regulations are currently in effect.


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