US President, Donald Trump has revoked a number of protections for women in the workplace.
Last week, Trump rolled back the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order. The order, originally put in place by former President, Barack Obama, ensured that companies with federal contracts complied with 14 labour and civil rights laws.
It also included rules for paycheck transparency and a ban on forced arbitration clauses for sexual harassment, sexual assault or discrimination claims – two things that directly impacted on women.
The news comes as the US marks Equal Pay Day, highlighting the disparity between men and women’s wages.
Equal Pay Day symbolises how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.
On average in the US, women earn 20 per cent less than their male colleagues. These statistics get even worse for BAME women. Black women are paid 37 per cent less and Hispanic women are paid 46 per cent less.
Speaking to NBC, Noreen Farrell, director of anti-sex discrimination law firm Equal Rights Advocates, said, “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.”
“It’s an outrage.”
Maya Raghu, director of workplace equality, National Women’s Law Center told NBC, “Arbitrations are private proceedings with secret filings and private attorneys, and they often help hide sexual harassment claims.”
“It can silence victims.”
“They may feel afraid of coming forward because they might think they are the only one, or fear retaliation.”