SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A federal appeals court says employers can legally pay women less than men for the same work based on differences in the employees’ previous salaries. The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday overturned a lower-court ruling saying pay differences based exclusively on prior salaries were discriminatory. U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Seng had said the pay differences were almost certainly the result of gender bias. The 9th Circuit panel cited a 1982 ruling by the court saying employers could use previous salary information as long as they applied it reasonably and had a business policy that justified it. The ruling came in a lawsuit by a California school employee. A call to the woman’s lawyer wasn’t immediately returned.