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President Trump Rolls Back Workplace Protections for Women

Topics: Current Events

On March 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order revoking the Fair Pay and Safe Workspaces order, signed by former-President Barack Obama in 2014. The original order required companies bidding on contracts in excess of $500,000 to disclose labor violations, including those against protected groups such as women and LGBTQ workers.

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Image Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

“Tuesday’s ‘Equal Pay Day’ — which highlights the wage disparity between men and women — is the perfect time to draw more attention to the president’s action, activists say,” Mary Emily O’Hara wrote at NBC News.

What the Fair Pay and Safe Workspaces Order Mandated

Obama’s order was intended to prevent companies that violated federal labor laws from receiving government contracts. The order banned forced arbitration clauses for sexual discrimination and assault, which are often standard at many employers. It also required federal contractors to provide employees with a statement detailing pay rate, overtime hours, and any deductions.

Noreen Farrell, director of the anti-sex discrimination law firm Equal Rights Advocates, characterized the order as Trump going “on the attack against workers and taxpayers.”

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“We have an executive order that essentially forces women to pay to keep companies in business that discriminate against them, with their own tax dollars,” Farrell told NBC News. “It’s an outrage.”

Why Pay Transparency Matters

“The wage transparency requirement forced companies with federal contracts to provide each employee with a ‘wage statement,’ making clear the rate of pay, the number of hours worked, the total amount of pay and any specific additions or deductions,” wrote Tom Embury-Dennis at The Independent. “It was one of the few ways to help ensure women were being paid as much as their male colleagues.”

Pay transparency is an important tool in the fight for gender pay equity. When salary isn’t shrouded in mystery, it’s harder for employers to pay men more than women — on purpose or by accident. Although PayScale’s data show that women aren’t that much less likely to negotiation salary than men (42 percent of women vs. 44 percent of men), they’re less likely to get a raise when they ask for one (43 percent of women who asked vs. 46 percent of men). In addition, they’re more likely to pay a higher social cost for asking.

In short, women can’t always rely on good negotiating skills to get them the salary they deserve. Pay transparency helps close the gap.

Tell Us What You Think

What’s your opinion of this order, and the one it revokes? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.


Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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Big mistake for Trump. Guarantee this will come back to bite him in the very near future. Impeachment is already being looked into / called for. A lot of women voted for him and this one move just alienated every working women in the United States. Bad, Bad decision Donald Trump!!!!! (I can’t for the life of me understand such a totally bone headed move.) Oh well, always knew he wouldn’t last very long. Actually counted on it. But, anyone… Read more »



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