Last week, just ahead of #EqualPayDay and a couple of days before declaring that women are central to his bid to “make America great again,” President Trump signed an executive order revoking an Obama-era rule that sought to protect employees of federal contractors. The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order mandated that any company bidding on a federal contract of more than $500,000 disclose labor law violations occurring within the past three years. The revocation of this rule, according to NBC News, rolls back two provisions that affect women in the workplace.
The Fair Pay order banned forced arbitration clauses for sexual harassment, sexual assault, or discrimination allegations. These clauses, which are deployed with increasing frequency in employment contracts, mandate private proceedings and secret filings, with the intention of keeping allegations of sexual impropriety out of the public record. “[T]hey often help hide sexual harassment claims,” Maya Raghu, Director of Workplace Equality at the National Women’s Law Center, told NBC News. “It can silence victims. They may feel afraid of coming forward because they might think they are the only one, or fear retaliation.”
The now-defunct order also required employers to provide details on pay scale and salaries, which in turn helped ensure that companies were paying female employees the same rates as their male counterparts.
In February, Trump met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and female business leaders to discuss the advancement of women in the workplace. But with Trump’s recent rollback on the Fair Pay order, many female workers are left increasingly vulnerable to abuse.
Read the full story at NBC News.