In 2017 a landmark law was passed in Philadelphia that prohibited inquisition of candidate salary histories by employers. The city is the first to implement the law in the US. The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia challenged the constitutionality of the law. Comcast communications also voiced its opposition to the law citing that it would breach its First Amendment rights. As law expert Karl Heideck explains, some factors influenced the passing of the law.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management the legislation served to bridge the wage gap between females and males in Pennsylvania. Some of the stipulations in the rules forbid the use of independently obtained salary data without the consent of the candidate, directly inquiring salary history, using salary history as a mandate to gain employment and punishing candidates who do not disclose salaries. The rules apply to all parties and employers operating in Philadelphia. The proposed fines for violation is 2000 dollars for every instance.
The Eastern District of Pennsylvania decided the case filed by the Chamber of Commerce against the rule. The case signaled the possible hurdles that employee rights laws would face. At one point, the implementation process stagnated. In June 2017, the court dismissed the case because the complainant could not specify how the legislation would negatively impact businesses. The Chamber of Commerce failed to pinpoint the particular enterprises that would suffer because of the law. Either way, the court had given both sides a fair chance to argue their points. Even with the failure of this case, the likelihood that the law will face other challenges is unknown. Should the Chamber of Commerce file another appeal, it would have to prove that there are businesses that cannot operate without asking employee salaries.
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Employers are likely to craft ways around the law to make it work for them. For instance, human resources can gather information on salaries online without the candidates’ knowledge. Nevertheless, some employers champion for equality and are willing to comply. Companies in the area have to reevaluate their hiring practices to incorporate the regulations.
Philadelphia based attorney, Karl Heideck specializes in compliance, risk management, business law and employment laws. Karl is a law graduate from James E. Beasley School of Law, Temple University and holds a B.A from Swarthmore College.
Karl Heideck publishes articles on law in Pennsylvanian on his blog and other online platforms. He has practiced law for over ten years now and represented businesses, corporates, and individuals. This makes Karl Heideck a reliable attorney in his field of specialization.