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      Delaware Law News

      Delaware Law Grad Instrumental in Passing New Delaware Legislation

      Bill Signing Celebration

      From left, Delaware Gov. John Carney stands with Delaware Law School alumna Felicia Brownell, her 12-year-old daughter Amira Brownell, and Delaware House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst.

      Felicia M. Brownell, Esq., a graduate of Delaware Law, saw an inequity in the Gender Pay Act and took action. Because of her efforts, a new law in Delaware now prohibits prospective employers from asking job applicants about their salary history and from screening applications based on compensation earned in previous positions.

      The Delaware alumna proposed the idea for the bill to Delaware House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst and Senate Majority Whip Nicole Poore in hopes of “narrowing the pay disparity between Delaware men, women and minorities by preventing employers from asking applicants their current or prior salary history before extending an offer,” she said.

      In response, Rep. Longhurst and Delaware Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry submitted a bill on April 4, which is Equal Pay Day. Brownell traveled to Legislative Hall in Dover, where she met with constituents and spoke with legislators about the benefits of the bill.

      The bill passed the House on April 27 and the Senate on June 6. Gov. John Carney signed it into law a week later.

      Delaware will be the first state to enact legislation barring employers from asking applicants to reveal their salary history before extending an offer of employment, with legislation taking effect December 2017. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, although the first state to pass legislation barring employers from asking applicants to reveal their salary history before extending an offer, will follow Delaware with its legislation taking effect July 1, 2018. 

      Brownell believes the new legislation will level the playing field for women and minorities in Delaware. “I am excited about where Delaware is headed and the legal acumen I have gained through my matriculation through Delaware Law School. It has enabled me to better craft my argument and to consider the perspective of my opponent. As a result, I am able to build consensus and am not entrenched in a singular perspective. I am proud to be a Delaware Law School alumna.” 


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