Philly’s Wage Law on Hold

Philly’s Wage Law on Hold

In a Brief earlier this year we mentioned an ordinance passed in Philadelphia that prohibits businesses in the City from asking about salary history of prospective employees.  We noted that companies were considering a lawsuit against the ordinance “…on a very thin argument that alleges first amendment rights violation”.

The Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce challenged the proposal, and last week a Federal judge stayed the effective date of the ordinance (May 23rd).  An article on the stay notes “It is also alleged that the law violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and Pennsylvania’s Constitution as well as its “First Class City Home Rule Act” by allegedly attempting to restrict the rights of employers outside of Philadelphia.”.  That latter language, at 53 PS 13133 called “Limitations” states a city shall not exercise powers or authority beyond the city limits: what the Chamber argues is that businesses conducting business in Philadelphia might also be doing so outside of the City or even the state but the ordinance would apply.

Pittsburgh passed a salary history prohibition earlier this year, but that applies only to the City government itself, not businesses in Pittsburgh.  Doing anything bigger would certainly run afoul of the language in the Home Rule Charter Law on business regulation at 2962(f).