Just before April 4th, also known as Equal Pay Day, President Donald Trump revoked an incredibly important executive order – the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order.
Implemented by President Barack Obama, the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order ensuring that companies with federal contracts are held accountable to fourteen labor laws. This same order goes to lengths to protect women in the work place by addressing two major workplace concerns: pay transparency and proceedings of sexual assault and discrimination claims.
The wage transparency clause requires companies with federal contracts to declare to their employee’s information such as specific deductions, rate of pay, and total hours worked. With this information, female employees can ensure they are paid the same as their male coworkers.
According to the Association of American University Women, women currently make an average of 80 cents to a man’s dollar, but the racial disparity in the gender wage gap is vast. Based on data from 2015, compared to white men, Asian women earned 90 percent, white (non-Hispanic) women earned 76 percent, black women earned 62 percent, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander women earned 60 percent, American Indian women earned 58 percent and Hispanic/Latina women earned 54 percent.
Another rule in the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order bans companies from implementing arbitration clauses in cases of sexual harassment or discrimination. These arbitration clauses have been used to silence victims of harassment by keeping claims of harassment and discrimination out of the courts. Arbitration clauses received public attention after Gretchen Carlson, a Fox Newscaster, ignored the arbitration clause in her contract and sued the former Chief of Fox News, Roger Ailes.
Women’s rights activists are calling attention to President Trump’s actions. Noreen Farrell from Equal Rights Advocates referred to the revocation as “an outrage” and many consider this to be a serious blow in the fight towards the goal of equal pay. Trump used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Act which means the law can never be reinstated by the executive branch.
Media Resources: Independent 4/5/2017; Association of American University Women; Feminist Majority Foundation 4/4/17 ; NBC News 4/3/17 ; New York Magazine 3/27/17