City's wage history ban is not quite dead yet

Both sides in suit appealing federal injunction

Pat Loeb
May 29, 2018 - 6:10 pm

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Both the City of Philadelphia and the Chamber of Commerce are appealing a federal judge's ruling on a city law that would ban employers from asking a job applicant's wage history. 

The law was intended to protect groups who have historically been paid less, but the judge granted an injunction to the chamber and its members who sued, agreeing with them that a ban on a wage history question would violate free speech. 

The judge also warned, however, that they couldn't use the answer to determine compensation, or they would be open to discrimination claims. 

While the chamber initially claimed victory, it is now appealing the second part of the judge's ruling.

RELATED: Employers banned from inquiring about applicant's salary history

The city is appealing his ruling on the First Amendment claim, which pleases the law's author, Bill Greenlee.

"I was disappointed and always will be in the judge's ruling, but I'm glad the city is pursuing this," he said.

"It is commercial speech," added Terry Fromson, managing attorney of the Women's Law Project, "that must be banned to prevent employers from engaging in unlawful activities: the reliance on prior wage to establish discriminatory wages."

The chamber declined comment.