Paul F. Millus ()
The American Association of University Women issued a report this year stating that, as of 2015, women working full time in the United States typically were paid just 80 percent of what men were paid. There have been various other studies, the results of which can be analyzed state by state and along racial and ethnic lines which either increase or decrease the gap. A new approach to bridge that gap has emerged. In Boston and Philadelphia (and soon in New York City), laws have been passed prohibiting employers from asking job candidates about their salary histories. Advocates argue that preventing such inquiries will help lessen the historical pay gap by stopping its perpetuation, leaving the employer and the prospective employee with a clean slate of sorts regarding pay. Employers maintain that preventing such inquiries prevents them from analyzing the market effectively and limits their ability to make an offer that fits within their economic model. There are a multitude of arguments and talking points on each side, but the fundamental question is: Does a law prohibiting this particular inquiry violate the employer’s right to free speech under the First Amendment? The first challenge to this type of law is now pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in the case of The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia v. City of Philadelphia, 17-cv-01548.
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