Assemblyman Crespo calls for action on his 2013 legislation which will make the ban a statewide law that is needed to address wage discrimination
Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Chair of the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force congratulated the New York City Council on their bold step to use a pragmatic approach to solving the wage discrimination faced by woman and ethnic minorities in the private labor market. Crespo also used this opportunity to call on the New York State Legislature to pass similar legislation he has introduced since 2013.
“I congratulate the New York City Council and Public Advocate Letitia James for attacking the problem of wage discrimination at its root cause; salary history requirements by prospective employers. It has been obvious to me for a long time that requiring a salary history from a job applicant only serves to suppress that candidates’ wages due to generations of an unequal starting point for labor force participants who are female and ethnic minorities,” stated Crespo.
He added, “The New York State Legislature must now follow the example set in New York City and pass my legislation (Assembly Bill 2040-A). We cannot have parts of our state making it a crime to engage in wage discrimination when half of our fellow New Yorkers are denied the same protections.”
Crespo continued, “In order to achieve fair pay, policymakers must enact laws that prevent gender based wage discrimination from the point when women and minorities enter the labor force. Asking prospective employees for wage history as a requirement for a job interview or job application or as condition for accepting a job is a discriminatory practice that must be banned.”
Crespo has reintroduced his legislation for each of the past five years which will prohibit employers from seeking salary history from prospective employees and only allows for verification of wages via written consent by prospective employee in instances where the verification can lead to higher wages than are being offered by employer. The legislation charges the NYS Department of Labor and Division of Human Rights with monitoring the problem and violations of the proposed law.
Requiring a salary history is a tactic used by employers to justify their lower pay rate and/or marginal pay increase for women and minority employees. This practice is a root cause of continued wage gap and wage inequalities between female and male employees and between white and nonwhite employees.
“Banning this practice should be the first step in enforcing equal pay laws like those passed by the federal government almost 53 years ago,” Crespo asserted. “Without such a ban, women and minorities start any new job having their salary based on previous salary, which to begin with was unequal to their male and Caucasian counterparts.”
According to Crespo, “It's a revolving cycle that brings us to today's persistent wage gap which ranges from 21% for white women to as much as 46% for minority women for every dollar their male counterparts earn.”
“The 1963 Equal Pay Act and the 1964 Civil Rights Act in the United States established the legal right for equal pay for equal work and equal opportunity. Yet more than half a century later, women and minorities are still subjected to wage gaps and paid less than men,” declared Crespo.