All eyes on Philly: Businesses launch second challenge to city’s salary history ban

For a second time, a Philadelphia business group has asked a judge to block the city’s ban on salary history questions, arguing that the law infringes on business’ free-speech rights.

The law also would prevent businesses in the city from keeping pace with competitors, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia said in a statement. “The inevitable consequences will be companies choosing to do business elsewhere and the loss of jobs for city workers.”

The challenge may serve as a test case for similar bans being adopted around the country.

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Broader ban-the-box law taking effect in Philadelphia

by Brittany E. McCabe

A more far-reaching version of Philadelphia’s ban-the-box law covering all employers in the city is set to take effect March 14.

On December 15, 2015, Mayor Michael Nutter signed an amended version of the city’s 2011 law that limits when employers can inquire about job applicants’ criminal background. Key changes include:

  • The new version applies to all public and private employers in the city with one or more employees. The old law covered only employers with at least 10 employees.
  • Employers must wait to make criminal record inquiries until after they extend a conditional offer of employment, not after a first interview as required by the original law.
  • Employers may consider only convictions that occurred in the last seven years, excluding any periods of incarceration. Previously, employers could look back as far as they chose.
  • Employers must consider specific factors when determining whether to reject an applicant based on his criminal record.
  • If an employer rejects an applicant based in whole or in part on a criminal record, it must notify the applicant of its decision and reason in writing and provide a copy of the criminal history report. Applicants will have 10 business days following the rejection to provide an explanation or evidence of inaccuracies in the report.
  • Applicants will have 300 calendar days after a rejection to file a complaint with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.
  • Employers must post a summary of the law’s requirements in a conspicuous place on their websites and in their premises.

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Not so fast—Judge strikes down Pittsburgh’s paid sick leave ordinance

by Gregory J. Wartman

In November, we reported that Pittsburgh had enacted a paid sick time ordinance for employees working in the city that was scheduled to take effect January 11, 2016 (see “Pittsburgh passes ordinance requiring paid sick time”). On December 21, 2015, a Pennsylvania judge struck down the ordinance, ruling that it is “invalid unenforceable.”

As we reported in November, the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association and others filed a lawsuit against the city of Pittsburgh to bar it from implementing the ordinance, which would have entitled workers within the city to up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year. They contended that the Pittsburgh City Council lacked the authority to pass and enforce the law.

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Pennsylvania same-sex marriage ruling means employers should study policies

May 21, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

On May 20, Pennsylvania became the latest state to have its same-sex marriage ban barred when a federal district judge struck down the state’s 1994 law.

The decision, which followed a similar ruling in Oregon a day earlier, makes Pennsylvania the 19th state to allow same-sex marriage. After the ruling, Governor Tom Corbett said he would consider whether to appeal Judge John E. Jones III’s decision.

If the ruling stands, Pennsylvania employers will need to examine their policies to make sure they don’t discriminate against same-sex couples. For example, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows employees to take leave to care for family members, including same-sex spouses, with a serious medical condition. Employer-sponsored benefits for married couples also will need to be extended to same-sex couples.

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