Nation’s First Wage Discrimination Law Passed

In mid-January, Philadelphia became the first city to pass a wage discrimination law. Hopefully, this will lead to similar actions by cities and states around the country, including Atlanta and Georgia.

The new discrimination law prohibits employers from asking job applicants for a record of their past salary. Legislators explain that by basing your new salary on your past salary, employers perpetuate the inequities of paying women and minorities less than their male counterparts. Without that knowledge of the lower pay making employers feel justified in offering a lower salary, employers are more likely to offer a fair salary.

Substantial research on sex discrimination in different jobs and markets across the United States has found that much of the pay gap exists because women’s starting salaries are kept low by employers’ inquiries into their wage history. It’s a vicious cycle – asking what women were paid at prior jobs may keep the starting wages artificially low. One observer noted, “I think a lot of [the gender pay gap] comes from that employers think they don’t have to pay women as much, and when they have the difference in starting salary right in front of them, it really confirms that expectation.” The law doesn’t stop wage negotiation but eliminates an unfair start to the conversation.

For more information, or if you believe that you have faced any type of wage discrimination, please contact the experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.

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