Philadelphia Bars Inquiries on Prior Pay

The city of brotherly love won’t allow employers to ask job applicants anymore about their salary history.

Philadelphia, Pa. becomes the first city in the United States to forbid employers to ask applicants about how much they were paid in prior jobs, under an ordinance signed by the mayor yesterday.

Mayor Jim Kenney brushed aside arguments from the business community that the measure would hurt the city’s economy.

Employers in the city have some time to get used to the idea. The law doesn’t take effect until May 23.

Comcast argued that the bill violates employers’ free speech rights and is threatening to sue to block the law.

Specifics of what the Wage Equity Bill (No. 160840) prohibits:

It is unlawful employment practice for an employer, employment agency or their employees and agents to:

  • Require disclosure of or inquire about (by asking in writing or otherwise) a prospective employee’s wage history;
  • Condition employment or consideration for an interview or employment on disclosure of wage history;
  • Retaliate against a prospective employee for failing to comply with any wage history inquiry or for otherwise opposing any act made unlawful by this chapter; or
  • Rely on the wage history of a prospective employee from any current or former employer of the individual in determining the wages for such individual at any stage in the employment process, including the negotiation or drafting of any employment contract, unless such applicant knowingly and willingly disclosed his or her wage history to the employer, employment agency, employee or agent thereof.

Discussions about past fringe benefits an applicant received also are prohibited under the law.

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