(Washington, D.C.) Today President Obama will sign an executive order directing agencies awarding federal contracts to take into account potential contractors’ compliance with civil rights, wage and hour, collective bargaining and health and safety laws and requiring contractors to publicly disclose previous violations of those laws. The order will require contractors to provide information on pay stubs each pay period so employees can determine whether their paychecks are accurate. The President will also prohibit companies with contracts of more than $1 million from forcing their employees to arbitrate violations of federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, sex, national origin, or religion or tort claims arising out of sexual harassment or sexual assault.
The following is a statement by National Women’s Law Center Co-President Marcia D. Greenberger:
“President Obama’s actions will strengthen labor and employment standards for the 20 percent of the workforce whose employers have the privilege of profiting from contracts with the federal government. All too often, women face sexual harassment and other discrimination on the job, are subject to wage theft, or are retaliated against when they seek to unionize. These violations of employees’ rights take a financial toll that women can ill-afford given their over-representation in low-wage jobs and the fact that they are typically paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to men.
“These new rules make it clear that if you want to do business with the federal government, you have to respect the rights of workers, including women. And it will be harder for employers to use forced arbitration to hide discrimination, and to deny survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault their day in court. When employers break the law, workers have to struggle even harder to succeed at work and sustain their families. By protecting the rights of workers, President Obama is giving workers—and our economy—a better shot at success.”