Third Circuit Court of Appeals Reinstates the City of Philadelphia’s Ban on Salary History Inquiries During the Hiring Process

By Lorena E. Ahumada

On February 6, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit overruled a district court’s order enjoining the City of Philadelphia from enacting a law prohibiting employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s salary history.  The Philadelphia Wage Equality Ordinance, which was signed into law by Mayor Jim Kenney in January 2017, included provisions prohibiting salary history inquiries and employers in the City from relying on such salary history information when making salary offers.  In April 2018, a federal district court, agreeing with the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia’s position, imposed a preliminary injunction, enjoining the City from enacting the portion of the Wage Equity Ordinance that banned salary history inquiries. The district court, however, upheld the law’s ban on use of such information to set salaries. The Appeals Court, however, overturned the lower court’s preliminary injunction and upheld the district court’s decision regarding the use of salary history information.

The City has not yet announced when it will begin enforcing the ban on salary history inquiries.  We encourage employers in the City to consult with their counsel to ensure their hiring process and forms are compliant with all regulations.