Today, April 4, is Equal Pay Day, a date that represents how far into the new year women have to work in order to make the same amount that men made in the previous year. It’s a sobering reminder of the wage gap in the U.S and a hint that there is a lot of work to do, like banning salary history questions, in order to make workplaces equitable. To mark the occasion, Ivanka Trump, special assistant to her father, took to Twitter to advocate, writing “#EqualPayDay is a reminder that women deserve equal pay for equal work. We must work to close the gender pay gap!” Trump also linked to a USA Today story about the wage gap that lays out the stark contrast between the wages between men and women, and the even greater gap between men’s wages and those of women of color.
Unfortunately for Ivanka, while she may believe that women should be paid equally, the very administration she works for is doing their part to make life more difficult for women in the workplace. According to NBC News, President Trump signed an executive order last week that revoked the Obama-era Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Order that stipulated that companies accepting federal contracts comply with 14 worker protection laws, including paycheck transparency and a rule that ended “forced arbitration clauses,” which were often used by companies in order to cover up instances of harassment. As Jezebel points out, Gretchen Carlson had to sue Roger Ailes directly instead of Fox News because of such a clause, which is important to note as the network deals with another sexual harassment lawsuit.
However and now that Trump has overturned the Fair Pay Order, companies can force sexual harassment into private or secret proceedings, keeping the public, and even other employees, in the dark about harassment and discrimination claims at the company.
Noreen Farrell, director of the anti-sex discrimination law firm Equal Rights Advocates, told NBC News that Trump’s new order “essentially forces women to pay to keep companies in business that discrimination against them, with their own tax dollars.”
The Obama-era order was instituted after government investigators found that several major wage theft violators received federal contracts even after being penalized for wage theft.