This afternoon, President Obama signed an executive order providing additional protections for workers employed by companies doing business with the federal government. This announcement bolsters the impact of the landmark executive order signed last week banning discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity by including new evaluation and enforcement mechanisms for reporting and remedying violations of existing labor requirements. Companies bidding for federal contracts in excess of $500,000 will be required to make any violations of existing labor laws public over the past three years. Once a company enters into a contract with the federal government, they will also be required to update this public report regarding potential labor law violations every six months for all contracted and subcontracted work. If a violation has occurred, the executive order provides for a process for remedial and corrective action.
The executive order also provides additional critical protections for employees of companies contracting with the federal government. Among these protections, workers can no longer be required to sign arbitration agreements that allow an arbitrator-- rather than a judge-- to make binding decisions on sexual assault and civil rights complaints. This requirement preserves the rights of some of the most vulnerable workers and ensures that they will have a right to take formal civil steps to hold companies accountable when they experience these grievances.
HRC applauds the President's efforts to use executive action to improve the lives of every working family -- regardless of what they look like.