Obama enacts “Fair Pay & Safe Workplace”

Barran Liebman
Oregon Law Firm

Cheaters Never Win—Or At Least They Shouldn’t:
New Executive Order Requires Mea Culpa of Federal Contractors with Recent Labor Law Violations

On July 31st, President Obama brushed aside threats of impeachment and passed yet another executive order, titled “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces.” The executive order requires companies seeking more than $500,000 in federal contracts to disclose labor law violations from the last three years before they are awarded a contract. Federal contractors must also collect the same information from many of their subcontractors.

Citing an unfair competitive advantage for those repeat offenders of labor laws, the new executive order puts pressure on the most egregious violators to clean up their acts or risk losing out on lucrative government contracts. For now, contracting officers have been directed to crack down on repeat offenders, and to provide guidance for minor violations to increase compliance.

The executive order also prohibits companies seeking contracts of $1 million or more from requiring employees to enter into pre-dispute arbitration agreements for certain allegations (civil rights, and sexual assault and harassment claims), mandating that employees have their day in court on these claims (current contracts containing such arbitration agreements are not affected). It also requires contractors to provide their employees information concerning the hours worked, including overtime, wages paid, and any payroll deductions so that employees may better determine whether their paychecks are accurate. Finally, the executive order directs the General Services Administration to develop a single website for contractors to meet their reporting requirements in an attempt to streamline contractor reporting.

A copy of the executive order can be found here.

On the heels of two other executive orders, one which requires federal contractors to pay their workers at least $10.10 per hour and another which bars contractors from discriminating against gay or transgender workers, the current administration is certainly keeping federal contractors busy with compliance updates, while many are also scrambling to update their affirmative action plans for veterans and individuals with disabilities.

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