City Defends Right To Stop Employers From Asking About Wage History

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Human Relations Commission has adopted a regulation that would prohibit employers from asking about a job applicant’s wage history, reinforcing a law that is being challenged in federal court. The regulation was adopted last month and revealed in a court filing as part of the federal lawsuit.

The Chamber of Commerce sued to stop the city from enacting a law that would bar salary history questions on job applications. The city voluntarily agreed to postpone enacting the law but in a response to the suit, filed late Friday evening, the city revealed that the Human Relations Commission has in the meantime adopted a regulation that does essentially the same thing.

A city official says the regulation would not take effect if the court rules against the new law but the city maintains, in its response, that it is a valid exercise of its power to bar the question. It says it has an interest in promoting wage equity and the law advances wage equity by eliminating a historical wage gap between men and women, especially women of color.

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