A great number of advocates for the Workers’ Rights in Philadelphia got to earn a newfound respect for brotherly love that the city is famed for earlier in 2017. This was upon Jim Kenney, the Mayor of Philadelphia, signing and approving a new law on 23rd January 2017, which prohibited any employer from inquiring about the prior salaries of applicants in the private sector. In turn, this made Philly the first city in the US to ever have and pass such a law. As would be expected though, it did not come without its legal challenges. Purported unconstitutionality was tabled by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia came a few weeks before the initiation date of the law.

The Society for Human Resource Management stepped forth to declare that the ordinance was orchestrated by the lawmakers to aid in bridging the female and male wage gap within Pennsylvania. The law had prohibited the employers from acts such as directly enquiring salary histories from applicants, retaliating/punishing job candidates that do not disclose their salary history, mandating the prospects to release their salary history to get hired and acquiring salary history of candidates without their go-ahead for their knowledge. Any person is doing business in Philadelphia, even through the third party such as employees, is affected by this new law. Anyone found to violate the law shall face a $2,000 fine per occurrence.

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Just like any new law, there were resistances from employers such as was witnessed from Comcast Communications who said that their 1st Amendment Rights were undermined and vowed to take legal action against the city and fellow companies also complained about the compliance burdens. The employee rights seemed to face a greater battle due to the many proponents that were realized upon the court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania opted to stay the filing made by the Chamber of Commerce who sought a preliminary injunction in April.

The Hire Counsel-listed Attorney, Karl Heideck, advises employers on compliance services as well as risk management and is also the author of a blog that guides the people of Pennsylvania to understand the workings of different laws.

Karl Heideck is a Law graduate from the James E. Beasley School of Law at Temple University, Class of 2009. Before this, he attended Swarthmore College in 2003 where he managed to attain his undergraduate degree. He has worked at Pepper Hamilton LLP as a practicing Project Attorney, and also, he was an associate at Conrad O’Brien.

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