President Donald Trump signed an executive order last week that undoes an order by his predecessor, Barack Obama, that extended workplace protections for women.
The little-noticed March 27 order has come under closer scrutiny Tuesday, which has been designated “Equal Pay Day” — particularly after the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, celebrated fair pay on her Twitter account.
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) April 4, 2017
Obama signed the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order after a Government Accountability Office investigation four years earlier found companies with workplace violations were being awarded millions in federal contracts.
Trump’s order undoes paycheck transparency and a ban on forced arbitration clauses for sexual harassment, sexual assault or discrimination claims — which helped women workers remain safe on the job.
“We have an executive order that essentially forces women to pay to keep companies in business that discrimination against them, with their own tax dollars,” said Noreen Farrell, director of the anti-sex discrimination law firm Equal Rights Advocates. “It’s an outrage.”
Women’s rights advocates say forced arbitration, in particular, help keep sex discrimination cases out of court and off the public record — which is exactly what happened to claims filed by women who worked at Fox News.
Former anchor Gretchen Carlson avoided her contract’s arbitration clause by suing former CEO Roger Ailes, instead of Fox News.
A new lawsuit filed this week by Fox News commentator Julie Roginsky added to the list of claims against Ailes.
Trump’s order allows federal contractors to force sexual harassment cases — like the lawsuits against Ailes — into secret proceedings