Philadelphia Upheld Anti Wage Discrimination Bill, Bans Employers From Requesting Salary History
Jan 25, 2017 11:36 AM EST
On Monday, Philadelphia became the first city in the United States to ban employers from asking potential hires to provide their salary history. Supporters say that this is a vital step toward closing wage discrimination between men and women, the Associated Press reports.
Democratic City Councilman Bill Greenlee, who introduced the Wage Equity Bill last September 2016, said he was inspired by a Massachusetts pay equity bill that included a ban on asking for salary history. The bill is aimed at eliminating the wage discrimination. According to a census report last 2015, women in Pennsylvania are paid 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. Jeni Wright, a lawyer, and mother of two, submitted a written testimony in support of the ban.
Wright claimed that she ventured into part-time jobs after the birth of her second child. When she decided to return to the workforce full-time, she didn't want to feel forced to disclose her salary history since it would probably push her to the bottom of the range. Wright felt like it weakened her bargaining position. One position actually had a $12,000 difference between the high and low ends of the possible salary.
However, Comcast and Philadelphia's Chamber of Commerce said the law went too far in dictating how employers can interact with potential workers. Rob Wonderling, president of the chamber, noted that it meddles upon an employer's ability to get important information during the hiring process. Early this month, Comcast urged Mayor Jim Kenney to veto the bill for it violates the employer's First Amendment rights. The company's representative said that Philadelphia must prove that it would advance its goal of reducing wage discrimination without restricting more speech than necessary to justify the ban.
Mayor Kenney, who eventually signed the bill, said that he is confident it can withstand legal challenges. He is optimistic that Comcast, the business community, and Philadelphia are committed to ending wage discrimination. Finally, he said that there is no need for an argument since what is good for the people of Philadelphia is also good for business.