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New trend prohibits employers from asking prospective hires about wages

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The City of Philadelphia recently amended its fair practices and discrimination ordinance, prohibiting employers from requesting or requiring applicants to disclose wage history during the recruiting and hiring process.  This includes asking about any form of compensation or benefits and the ordinance also prohibits employers for retaliating against an applicant for failing to comply with such an inquiry.

The amendment to “The Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance” was signed into law in January and takes effect on May 23, 2017. Philadelphia follows the lead of the state of Massachusetts, which last August became the first state in the country to enact a law prohibiting employers from asking about a prospective employee’s wage history.

Laws like these appear to be a trend and a likely path to where employment laws and employment practices are headed.  As employers, it’s important to be ready to adjust your practices to be appropriate and compliant with all laws, whether federal, state or local.

The basis for the law is important.  The goal is fair pay, with a specific focus on narrowing the gender wage gap.  The law’s proponents suggest that pay should be based on the position, not on the applicant’s previous arrangement. Based upon this trend, if your practice has been to ask about an applicant’s wage history, consider focusing primarily on the value the position has to your company as the basis for your salary offers.  Some other actions to consider:

  • Remove questions on your applications relating to an applicant’s wage history
  • Train your staff to ensure they don’t ask these sorts of questions during the interview

If you have questions about your company’s policies as it relates to the hiring and interview process, the experts at BCN Services can assist. Contact us anytime for help.