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Court Rules in Favor of Philadelphia Salary History Ban

February 27th, 2020

Employers have historically asked candidates about their job salary histories as a part of the interviewing and selection process. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently ruled that this step could be considered a form of discrimination. This means that in the future, companies doing business in Philadelphia will legally have to refrain from seeking wage information from candidates.

The case in question pertains to the city’s ongoing efforts to reduce discrimination against job applicants. A few years ago, the city sought to make it illegal for employers to ask job applicants to reveal how much they made at their prior roles. At the time, a lower court ruled that the city did not have the ability to force employers to refrain from asking about past wages. The recent ruling from a higher court has sent ripples across the city as an indication of big changes coming for employers and prospective employees working within city limits.

Why Past Wage-Earning Information May Be Discriminatory

At the heart of this debate is whether it is fair to ask someone about the money they made while working at other jobs. On the surface, this common interview question may seem innocuous. Yet, advocates for wage equality and non-discriminatory candidate selection processes feel that employers could use the information against candidates. An argument against employers having access to an applicant’s salary history is that it gives the company the upper hand by offering the candidate less than they deserve for the position. Organizations could also use past wage information to withhold money and benefits, according to proponents of the new law.

The Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce stands in opposition to the new ruling. Chamber leaders believe that the law will not have much, if any, effect on the wage gap. Currently, the gap suggests that women make about 80 cents for every dollar that men make, and that women of color receive even less. The Chamber has also publicly suggested that the new ruling will put burdens on employers and punish them for trying to figure out how to pay new workers. Ultimately, Chamber representatives contest that companies may decide to move outside the city if they cannot ask interviewees about past wages.

Philadelphia Employment Discrimination Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Help Workers Avoid Wage Discrimination

If you experienced wage discrimination when applying for a job, contact the Philadelphia employment discrimination lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. We will review your case and advise the next best steps to obtain the compensation you rightfully deserve. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free consultation today. Located in Pennsauken, New Jersey and Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and South Jersey.

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