Pennsylvania Employment Law Update – May 2018


Judge Rules Philadelphia Salary History Ban Violates Free Speech

On April 30, 2018, federal judge Mitchell Goldberg of the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia ruled that the Inquiry Provision of the City of Philadelphia’s salary history ban violates the First Amendment, and thus was enjoined, but the Reliance Provision is legal and remains intact.

According to Goldberg’s decision, “the city enacted an ordinance amending Title 9 of The Philadelphia Code to include provisions on wage equity. The ordinance has two parts. First, it prohibits an employer from inquiring about a prospective employee’s wage history (Inquiry Provision); and second, it makes it illegal for an employer to rely on wage history at any stage in the employment process to determine a salary for an employee (Reliance Provision). The basic premise of the law’s prohibitions is that allowing employers to formulate job offers based on prior salaries that are historically lower for women and minorities perpetuates the wage inequity problem.”

Per the ruling, although employers may inquire into an applicant’s salary history they cannot rely on it to set an applicant’s wage rate. Therefore, unless an employer can demonstrate a valid reason, not related to setting wages, for an inquiry into an applicant’s salary history it should eliminate the inquiry altogether.

Read the case