In an effort to close the wage gap the city of Philadelphia has passed a law that bans employers from asking potential employees their salary history.
The ruling came down from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on Thursday after the law had been sitting in limbo for over two years.
The ordinance to ban employers from asking salary history was signed into law in January of 2017 and the city was later sued by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia in April of 2017 stating that the ruling was a violation of commercial speech rights of employers.
There are two parts of the ordinance, the first part bans employers from asking wage history and the second part bans employers from using any part of wage history during the employment process to determine salary.
Employers who violate the ordinance can face civil and criminal penalties including a $2000 fine and potentially jail time for additional offenses.
“We are clearly disappointed, but as we review the court’s opinion and potential next steps, we look forward to continuing a productive conversation with the city on this important issue,”
– Liz Ferry VP Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia
Those in support of the law hope that this will help cut down on gender and race discrimination that plays a role in the wage gap.
“There is overwhelming evidence showing that the wage gap for women and people of color cannot be completely explained by legitimate factors. Decades of comprehensive studies prove that past discrimination taints the salary histories of women and people of color. The notion that the Wage Equity Ordinance will help close the wage gap is not only supported by significant empirical evidence, it is also backed by plain commonsense.”
– City Solicitor Marcel S Pratt