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Philadelphia Employers Banned from Requesting Salary History from Applicants

According to a recent federal appeals court ruling, employers in Philadelphia may no longer request salary history information from job applicants. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit partially reversed a lower court’s 2018 decision that allowed employers to ask about salary history but prohibited them from using the information to determine an employee’s new salary.

In 2017, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce sued the city, arguing that the Philadelphia law violated the employer’s First Amendment rights. Mayor Jim Kenney, and others who supported the law, said that the practice of requesting a salary history perpetuates the cycle of discrimination resulting in women with lower salaries than men. In fact, studies show that women make only 80 cents for every dollar that a man earns, despite the fact that women make up close to 50 percent of the workforce and are the sole or co-breadwinner in half of families in this country who have children. For women of color, this gap is even higher. They are hopeful that this recent ruling will put an end to that cycle.

Law Expected to be Enforced Soon

It is unclear when city officials will begin enforcing the new law, but it will likely be soon, as they have been given the green light to do so. The law will be enforced by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, and employers who violate the law may face steep fines and litigation. The Chamber of Commerce claims that the law makes it more difficult for companies to determine what a competitive salary offer should be, particularly in such a tight labor market. Although the Chamber can petition the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision, it is unlikely that it will be overturned.

According to the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, Philadelphia has implemented a number of work-protection legislation in recent years. This latest law is about equality and protecting people’s rights. People have argued that the law will not solve the problem of wage inequality, said a former city councilman, but there is no way to know that unless the law is given a chance.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Assist Clients with Employment Issues

 If a prospective employer requested to see your salary history during the interview process, this is a violation of your rights. The Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. have a proven track record in reaching successful outcomes for clients who have a range of employment issues, including those related to fair compensation. To schedule an initial consultation, call us today at 215-574-0600 or contact us online. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.