Philadelphia hasn't given up quest to abolish salary history questions

The city is asking the Third Circuit Court to allow a wage equity law to take effect.

Pat Loeb
September 25, 2018 - 12:51 pm
Philadelphia City Hall

Courtesy of Paul Gluck


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The city of Philadelphia has filed its appeal of a federal court ruling that tossed out a law aimed at wage equity. The law would prohibit employers from asking about a job applicant's salary history.

The law passed two years ago but never took effect because the Chamber of Commerce challenged it on First Amendment grounds. The district court agreed with the Chamber, but in its appeal, filed Friday, the city argues the judge made a mistake when he declared that salary history questions are "protected speech," and ignored the city's evidence that such questions perpetuate wage gaps that are based on race and gender.

The appeal says the city offered ample empirical and statistical evidence — as well as common sense — and the judge's ruling will make it impossible for lawmakers to correct social and economic problems. It asks the Third Circuit to overturn the ruling or send it back to the judge with an order that he hold an evidentiary hearing.

City council passed a bill banning salary history questions, nearly two years ago, when it was still in the vanguard, now more than a dozen jurisdictions have adopted such laws. Only Philadelphia's has been struck down. 

Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh have banned the questions for their own government employees.

The Chamber of Commerce has two weeks to respond.