Salary negotiations are not an easy task for job candidates or employers, even more so for women job candidates. Federally, equal pay is protected by the Equal Pay Act of 1963 which protects against wage discrimination based on sex. Similar protections exist within the New York City Human Rights Law. Geeta Tewari, an Assistant Professor of Law at Widener University Delaware Law School, utilized the New York City Human Rights Law as a case study to show how local governments can help frame salary negotiation as a protected human right and discussed the challenges of salary negotiations.
By law, employees are allowed to discuss their salaries with fellow employees. Oftentimes, these conversations result in the discovery of pay inequity. As Alex Berke said for the law review “The longer it takes for employers to “deal with it”, the more motivated people become to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. The behavior does not need to be explicit in order for it to be illegal under the NYC Human Rights Law.
In NYC, the Human Rights Commission can choose to take on a case itself and conduct an independent investigation. According to Alex Berke: “When the Commission decides to take on a case, it forces employers to take the claim more seriously because they are then unable to simply offer a settlement.” NYC offers means of recourse for employers and employees to come to a mutually acceptable agreement to either continue in the workplace or leave in a positive way.
Read Geeta Tewari’s piece here for more information on the impact of the New York City Human Rights Law on pay equity.