In 2014, Barack Obama signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order that “required companies with federal contracts to heed 14 different labor and civil rights laws, including ones aimed at protecting parental leave, weeding out discrimination against women and minorities, and ensuring equal pay for women and fair processes surrounding workplace and sexual harassment allegations.” A few days ago, Donald Trump signed an executive order pulling back these protections, leaving workers, especially female workers, vulnerable to mistreatment from employers. The bill had two rules specifically that helped create an equitable workplace for women: wage transparency and a ban on forced arbitration clauses for sexual harassment. The wage transparency rule has in the past been the only way to ensure that women were being paid as much as their counterparts. Even still, recent research shows that women in America are currently earning only 83 cents for every dollar earned by men doing the same job. The ban on forced arbitration clauses was put in place in order to stop companies with government contacts from using this clause to keep sex discrimination claims from going to court.
I have the following questions for Caucus students:
- To what extent do you think this order impacted the workplace the last 3 years?
- Do you think we will see an increase in the gender wage gap due to the revocation of this order?
- Do you think that we will see an increase in sexual discrimination cases due to the revocation of this order, or will they be hidden from the public?
- How will we make strides towards an equal workplace if orders such as these are being pulled back?