Last month, cable giant Comcast warned Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney not to sign a bill barring employers from requesting an employee’s salary history. Otherwise, Comcast—one of the city’s largest employers—promised to sue.
On Jan. 24, Kenney did sign the measure, which the city council had previously passed unanimously. The law goes into effect May 23.
Patterned after a first of its kind Massachusetts law, the ordinance bars employers from asking an employee’s salary history.
The idea is that the practice results in lower salaries for women and minorities because it reinforces discrimination the applicants have already experienced in previous workplaces. Advocates also believe that the practice rewards aggressive negotiators and creates pay inequities between employees performing similar work.
Comcast, however, claims that it violates its First Amendment rights. Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce CEO Rob Wonderling claims the bill creates a “hassle factor” for businesses that want to do business in Philadelphia.
Note: Part of Comcast’s argument is that not every position has a salary range and an applicant’s salary history is crucial to establishing a suitable salary. Stay tuned for developments.