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can I threaten authorized motion to get a greater job provide? — Ask a Supervisor

A reader writes:

TLDR: I used to be given a lowball job provide. I stated it was lower than my earlier whole comp, which it was. I used to be requested my earlier wage and, stupidly, gave it. Asking wage historical past is prohibited within the nearest metropolis and which will or might not cowl me. Can I exploit the specter of authorized motion to barter a greater provide?

I used to be laid off. I utilized for a job at a close-by firm a good friend works at. The interview course of was actually quick, lower than per week from preliminary submission to remaining interview. I assumed I killed it. My good friend on the within agreed. However after the ultimate interview it took three entire weeks to get a suggestion. Apparently the CFO needed to log out on every little thing personally and had an enormous backlog.

The preliminary provide was lower than I had been making at my earlier job and I made the error of claiming it like that. The in-house recruiter requested what I used to be making and I’m unhealthy at pondering on my toes, so I instructed her. This job is in a suburb of Philadelphia, and Philadelphia has the Wage Fairness Ordinance making it unlawful to ask wage historical past. For those who learn the legislation itself, it appears to be like like I’m coated as a result of the corporate has staff and an workplace in Philly. However for those who learn an official FAQ, it doesn’t cowl you if the job location is exterior Philly, which that is.

Can I exploit the specter of authorized motion to barter a greater provide? I didn’t give a quantity for what I’m in search of. The recruiter ran off to get a brand new quantity based mostly on my historical past. However I desire a larger provide since my final wage misplaced $10,000 in two years from raises not maintaining with inflation. Additionally, I’ve expertise now in a know-how which my prior employer stated they might have given me the next title for if I had had that coming in.

I used to be fascinated by saying, “We don’t should get attorneys concerned and let your supervisor know, if..”

It’s a foul thought!

Firstly, you don’t seem to really be coated by Philadelphia’s legislation. The town’s FAQ on the legislation says it solely applies to positions positioned inside Philadelphia, which this job will not be. (There are some exceptions to that, akin to for those who’d be spending a variety of time within the metropolis, however I’m assuming you’ll have talked about it if these utilized.)

For those who’re not coated by the legislation, you don’t have any standing to threaten authorized motion.

However even for those who have been coated, “we don’t should get attorneys concerned and let your supervisor know” is a foul method. First, this isn’t actually a authorized battle; you’d merely be reporting them to the Philadelphia Fee on Human Relations. Extra importantly, you’re tying collectively two issues that don’t essentially belong collectively. Sure, they shouldn’t ask candidates about wage historical past (if certainly you have been coated beneath the legislation), however that they had already made you a suggestion with out having that data, and also you volunteered data about your earlier wage as a negotiation level. They may have nonetheless been in technical violation after they requested you to elaborate (it’s not totally clear from the data on the town’s web site), however introducing that data after which threatening authorized motion after they engaged with you on it received’t make you appear to be you’re working in good religion.

It’s additionally unlikely to work. Most definitely, they’ll be postpone by the menace and simply let you know that their unique provide — the one they made with none data about your wage historical past — is agency.

Even when it labored, although, it’s unlikely to be in your greatest pursuits. They made you a suggestion that was presumably inside their wage construction for the function and the staff. Let’s say you efficiently threaten them into providing extra. What are the probabilities you’re going to seek out it simple to get raises there sooner or later versus having your wage stagnate as a result of they don’t need it to get much more out of sync with others doing comparable work? If you must threaten an employer into providing you extra, you’re higher off simply concluding that they don’t pay what you need … quite than embedding your self into an organization that you simply consider underpays (and which can presumably proceed to underpay and resist elevating your wage sooner or later).

To be clear, I’m not saying we shouldn’t maintain corporations accountable for following the legislation. And I hate that employees contemplating holding corporations legally accountable have to consider whether or not it can get them labeled overly adversarial or so forth. However in actuality, you do — and on this case you’ve additionally bought to think about whether or not making threats over it can get you the end result you need or simply poison the nicely.

All that stated, for those who assume they violated the legislation, by all means report them to the company charged with dealing with it! However utilizing it to attempt to negotiate extra money isn’t a great technique.

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