Philadelphia Bans Asking About Salary History

Mayor says he wants to end wage discrimination
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 25, 2017 3:29 AM CST
Philadelphia Bans Asking About Salary History
Job seekers and recruiters meet during a job fair in Philadelphia.   (Matt Rourke)

Despite a threat from cable giant Comcast to take legal action, Philadelphia has banned employers from asking potential hires to provide their salary history, a move supporters say is a step toward closing the wage gap between men and women. Mayor Jim Kenney signed the measure, saying he's confident the bill can withstand legal challenges. "I know that Comcast and the business community are committed to ending wage discrimination, and I'm hopeful that moving forward we can have a better partnership on this and other issues of concern to business owners and their employees," he said, per the AP. "This doesn't need to be an either/or argument—what is good for the people of Philadelphia is good for business, too."

Comcast and the city's Chamber of Commerce have said the law goes too far in dictating how employers can interact with potential workers. The City Council unanimously passed the ordinance in December. Supporters say that since women have historically been paid less than men, the practice of asking for a salary history can help perpetuate a cycle of lower salaries for women. Women in Pennsylvania are paid 79 cents for every dollar a man earns, according to a 2015 Census Bureau report. Similar legislation inspired by a Massachusetts pay equity law has been picking up speed around the country, says Maya Raghu, director of workplace equality at the National Women's Law Center in Washington, DC. (Read more Philadelphia stories.)

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