Readers of this space may recall my recent posts highlighting court and legislative changes to employment laws, regulations and policies affecting manufacturers. See e.g. “‘Manufacturing’ Law: Courts Also Move to Fill the Void,” “INTERESTING UPDATE: ‘Manufacturing’ Law: Courts Join the States to Fill the Void,” and “The DOL Seeks to Change the Tide.” While Congress may have taken August off for vacation, local governments have not. The breathtaking speed by which long-established practices are being challenged and changed has not slowed down. Two examples help to make this point.
On July 19, San Francisco adopted the “Parity in Pay Ordinance” prohibiting covered employers from either asking about an applicant’s salary history or considering an applicant’s salary history when deciding whether to hire and what salary to offer. Effective January 1, 2018, San Francisco becomes another jurisdiction to adopt a salary history inquiry ban.
These local bans on salary history require hiring officials to dramatically change their practices. What once may have been a routine question (“how much did you make in your last job and how much do you need to be paid to work for me”) becomes a legal minefield – legal or illegal depending on the status of the interview-application process. San Francisco’s ban prohibits a manufacturer from considering salary history, even when the applicant spontaneously offers it. So, if during the interview the applicant discloses that she or he earned a six-figure salary in the prior job and the manufacturer’s proposed salary range was capped at a far lower amount, the likelihood that the applicant would either reject the offer or accept it only until the next opportunity cannot be considered.
The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs published new regulations under the “Freelance Isn’t Free” Act, rules which became effective on July 24. Among other things, those rules prohibit freelance employees from prospectively waiving rights under the Act, ban prohibitions on bringing an action in court to enforce the individual’s rights, and otherwise ban waivers of the right to bring class or collective actions. Any provisions in conflict with these rules are automatically void and unenforceable.
These changes may require the wholesale modification of standard independent contractor or freelance agreements.
As I have noted before, the rapidly changing landscape requires manufacturers pay close attention to changing standards in their jurisdictions. Every individual involved in the hiring process, whether in HR or not, should become familiar with applicable local rules.