Philadelphia Employers Should Remove Past Wages Questions from Employment Applications

In 2017, the City of Philadelphia passed an ordinance prohibiting employers from asking applicants about their past wages with prior employers.  The Ordinance had been stayed pending court challenges, but a recent decision of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Philadelphia Wage Equity Ordinance, paving the way for implementation.  City representatives have indicated that the effective date will be set by the city after consultation with the business community.

Specifically, the Ordinance prohibits employers hiring for a position located within the City of Philadelphia from:

  • Asking a prospective employee about their wage history;
  • Requiring disclosure of wage history in order for an applicant to be considered for an interview or as a condition of employment;
  • Relying on an employee’s wage history in setting wages for an employee (unless the employee knowingly and willingly discloses their wage history);
  • Retaliating against an employee or prospective employee for failing to comply with any inquiry or other act made unlawful by the Ordinance; or
  • Failing to prominently display a fair practices notice issued by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.

While this specific ordinance only applies to Employers located within the City of Philadelphia, all employers are encouraged to maintain awareness regarding local ordinances that may affect their hiring or operational practices.

For more information, contact Brandon Williams, Esq. at or (717) 233-4101.