On June 27, 2017, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance (#170350) that prohibits San Francisco employers from considering the current or past salary of any job applicant when making a hiring decision or salary offer. This also prohibits current or former employers from disclosing the salary history of former or current employees without that employee’s authorization, unless the information is already publicly available. This is a victory for workers.
Relying on past salary histories to set future wages only furthers past and current pay gaps based on gender and race. Awaiting signature from the Mayor’s Office, the ordinance is an effort toward trying to remedy the persistent and generations-old problem of equal work and unequal pay for women and other marginalized populations. The Supervisors are acknowledging and proactively addressing the issue of implicit bias and systemic wage inequality with this ordinance.
Per the National Women’s Law Center, California women continue to make only 84 cents to every man’s dollar. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors are sending a unified message: “equal pay for equal work” will carry the day for employment within San Francisco.
The lessons of the labor movement have consistently taught us that when any group or sector of workers experience work place discrimination or other inequities, it only serves to artificially divide us — lowering everyone’s wages and reducing the quality of our lives.