NYC Sues Tesla, News Corp. Over Alleged Violations of Pay Transparency Law

NYC Sues Tesla, News Corp. Over Alleged Violations of Pay Transparency Law
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks during a press conference in New York, on Dec. 19, 2023. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Katabella Roberts

The New York City Commission on Human Rights has filed lawsuits against Tesla and News Corp., alleging the companies violated the city’s pay transparency law by failing to include a “good faith” salary range in job advertisements.

The lawsuit against electric vehicle maker Tesla—founded by billionaire businessman Elon Musk—was filed on Dec. 4, 2023.

Prosecutors alleged that, as of June 2023, Tesla had at least four job listings on its official website for positions in New York City that didn’t include a pay range. Four other listings contained salary ranges that were “not made in good faith,” prosecutors said.

The job listings covered an array of roles that included a seasonal vehicle operator, construction project manager, commercial field service technician, and regional workplace manager, according to the lawsuit. The listings included pay ranges of $18 to $48 per hour and $72,000 to $210,000 annually.

Prosecutors claim Tesla “unlawfully discriminated against job applicants” by failing to include a salary range in the job listings, in violation of The New York City Human Rights Law.

The lawsuit asks that Tesla modify its current policies, practices, and procedures to ensure compliance with the act and that the company train all management, agents, and employees in the law.

In addition, prosecutors are asking the court to direct Tesla to “engage in affirmative relief, including anti-discrimination training, policy revisions, posting and notice to employees, and monitoring.”

NYC Sues News Corp.

A similar lawsuit also was filed against News Corp.—which was founded by Rupert Murdoch and owns Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co. and News UK, which publishes The Sun and The Times, among other media outlets—on Dec. 4, 2023.

That lawsuit also alleges failure to comply with the law.

According to that lawsuit, as of July 11, 2023, the media giant’s official website contained 107 job listings for positions in New York City at News Corp., of which at least four displayed pay ranges that weren’t reported in good faith.

They included reporting and analyst roles at Dow Jones and the New York Post, and featured pay ranges anywhere from $50,000 to $180,000 annually and $40,000 to $160,000 annually, according to the lawsuit.

A similar complaint was also filed against the employment website Indeed in November 2023. That lawsuit didn’t state exactly how many job postings failed to include salary and wage ranges or had ranges that weren’t made in good faith.

However, it noted that while the employment website “does consistently provide estimated salary ranges based on similar jobs and user-generated data when hirers fail to provide this information,” its estimate “is not binding.”

Indeed spokesman David Fishman told Bloomberg that the commission withdrew its complaint “without prejudice” on Feb. 2, after the online job board provided more information about its pay transparency policy.

The News Corp. building on 6th Avenue, home to Fox News, the New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal in New York, on March 20, 2019. (Kevin Hagen/Getty Images)
The News Corp. building on 6th Avenue, home to Fox News, the New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal in New York, on March 20, 2019. (Kevin Hagen/Getty Images)

What Is the Salary Transparency Law?

New York’s statewide salary transparency measure was signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul on Dec. 21, 2022, following approval by the Democrat-controlled state Legislature. It took effect in September 2023.

Under the measure, private employers with at least four workers are required to disclose “good faith” salary ranges for any job advertised internally or externally to the public if they involve work that is to be performed, at least in part, in the state. This includes postings involving opportunities, promotions, and transfers.

The posting should “give the prospective applicant a legitimate idea of the expected pay,” according to the law. “These ranges consist of the minimum and maximum annual salary or hourly compensation believed to be accurate at the time of posting.”

The measure notes that salary doesn’t include other forms of compensation or benefits offered in connection with the advertised job, promotion, or transfer opportunity, such as health insurance, or paid leave.

Employers who fail to comply with the law risk a fine of up to $250,000 per violation, although the commission won’t assess a civil penalty for first-time violators, so long as the violation is fixed within 30 days of being notified by the commission.

In addition, the law allows workers to sue their current employer for violations, and employers may have to pay monetary damages to affected employees, according to the measure.

According to the official website of New York City’s Commission on Human Rights, the mayoral agency initiated complaints against more than 30 employers and third-party job posting sites from October through December 2023, including Career Builder, Morgan & Morgan P.A., United Talent Agency, and ZipRecruiter.

News Corp. declined to comment. Tesla officials didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.