On April 8, 2014, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order and a Presidential Memorandum intended to engender pay equality for women and minorities. The Order amends Executive Order 11246 and prohibits federal contractors that generally have contracts exceeding $10,000 from retaliating against employees who choose to discuss their compensation. The Memorandum directs the Department of Labor (DOL) to propose a rule requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to submit summary compensation data to the DOL, including data categorized by sex and race. The data will be used to develop tools to enhance both voluntary compliance with and enforcement of federal Equal Pay and Civil Rights laws. The DOL must issue the rule within 120 days.
These reforms continue the series of compensation reform efforts from the Obama Administration, which has consistently prioritized pay equality reform. Facing political obstacles from Congress, the President has repeatedly looked to reform employment laws by Executive Order through the federal contracting industry. The anti-retaliation Order is one example of this tactic. The Order is a corollary to the Obama Administration's proposed Paycheck Fairness Act, which would prohibit retaliation against employees who discuss compensation in both the public and private sphere. The Order is similar to the protection that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) already provides, but expands that protection to management personnel and certain industries that the NLRA does not cover.
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