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Pennsylvania - Philadelphia Salary History Ban Reinstated

On February 6, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed a district court’s preliminary injunction that prohibited the City of Philadelphia from enforcing its ban on employers asking for job applicants’ salary history, also referred to as the Philadelphia Wage Equity Ordinance.

Mayor Jim Kenney signed the Wage Equity Ordinance into law on January 23, 2017 and it was set to take effect May 23, 2017. However, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia sued the City in federal court arguing that the ordinance violated the First Amendment and sought preliminary injunctive relief. On April 30, 2018, the federal district court granted a preliminary injunction, ruling that the First Amendment prohibited the ordinance’s ban against employers asking for salary history. However, the district court upheld the ordinance’s provision that prohibits employers from relying on or using salary history information when making salary offers. Both the City and Chamber of Commerce appealed the ruling.

On February 6, 2020, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit released its opinion upholding both provisions of the Wage Equity Ordinance. The court overruled the district court’s decision enjoining the City from enforcing the ban on salary history questions. It also upheld the provision that prohibits employers from relying on salary history information, agreeing with that part of the district court’s decision.

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