ERA Statement on Expected Federal Rollback on Equal Pay Investigations
San Francisco, CA – In another slap in the face to fair workplaces and working people, the Trump administration may roll back Obama-era rules on investigating federal contractors for pay discrimination, allowing employers to influence those investigations.
“All workers deserve to be treated fairly at work. Allowing employers to determine which employees investigators should investigate for pay disparities obviously defeats the purpose of having an investigation in the first place,” said Jessica Stender, Senior Counsel for Workplace Justice & Public Policy at Equal Rights Advocates, a national civil rights organization. “That’s not how this should work. To actually root out pay discrimination, investigators must be able to analyze the pay rates of workers doing the same job, apples to apples, to identify unjustified gender or race-based disparities. Allowing employers to interfere with the dataset will not shine light on what’s actually happening.”
“If the Trump administration is going to roll over on this one, state governments need to step in, step up and ensure fair workplaces for everyone,” Stender said. “Here in California, we are working to protect working families and close unfair wage gaps with CA-SB 1284, which will require large employers to collect and report pay data based on job type, race, ethnicity and gender. Clearly, since the US Department of Labor refuses to do its job, we’ll have to do it for them. We invite more states to propose legislation like California’s SB 1284.”
This reported rollback would be yet another move by the Trump administration to chip away at hardworking American’s right to a fair workplace. Previous reversals on workplace rights have included revoking the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order signed by President Obama, which would have required companies bidding on contracts with the federal government to disclose their history of violations of labor and employment laws relating to workplace safety, discrimination, and minimum wage and overtime pay. The 2014 rule also prohibited these companies, which employ about 26 million people, from forcing workers to resolve sexual harassment and other discrimination claims through arbitration, an increasingly common method businesses use to settle disputes out of the public eye – and a serious barrier to a workers’ fight for fair treatment and pay.
Equal Rights Advocates is a national civil rights organization dedicated to protecting and expanding economic and educational access and opportunities for women and girls.