Labor and Employment Alert: Philadelphia Bans Inquiries into Job Applicants’ Wage History

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Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney recently signed into law an ordinance designed to address gender-based wage disparities by prohibiting employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s wage history.  This ordinance follows a similar law enacted by Massachusetts in August 2016 which became the first state to prohibit employers from asking about or requiring a job applicant to disclose his or her wage history.  Similar legislation has since been introduced in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York City.

The Philadelphia ordinance makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer or employment agency to:

However, the ordinance does not apply to any actions taken by an employer or employment agency under any federal, state, or local law that specifically authorizes the disclosure or verification of wage history for employment purposes.

The ordinance becomes effective in May 2017.  Given this, employers in Philadelphia should review their hiring policies and practices (including their paper and online applications) to ensure that they comply with these prohibitions.  Contact your Vorys lawyer if you have questions about doing so or about similar laws that have been enacted or that are pending.