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Press Release

In a Shameful Display of Corporate Cronyism, the U.S. House of Representatives Votes to Repeal the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order

February 07,2017

Washington, DC — The following is a statement from American Association for Justice CEO Linda Lipsen on today’s vote to repeal the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Fair Pay executive order, signed by former President Barack Obama in July 2014, would restore access to justice for millions of government contract employees whose rights have been eliminated by the abusive practice of forced arbitration.

“Today’s shameful display of corporate cronyism sends a clear message that federal contractors are free to violate crucial employment and civil rights laws without jeopardizing their access to billions of taxpayer dollars. The Fair Pay executive order was implemented with the noble – and necessary – goal of ensuring that federal contractors provide their employees with fair pay and a safe work environment free from discrimination. It would also prohibit contractors from forcing employee disputes into rigged, secretive forced arbitration proceedings if the allegations involve discrimination, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. The American Association for Justice urges the Senate to make sure that corporations that accept government contracts play by the rules and reject any attempt to overturn the Fair Pay executive order.”

Background

The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order prohibits corporations with federal contracts of $1 million or more from subjecting their employees to forced arbitration for claims arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights act of 1964, or civil suits related to sexual assault or harassment.

The Department of Labor estimates that there are roughly 24,000 businesses with federal contracts, employing about 28 million workers.

In addition to the ban on forced arbitration for certain disputes, the executive order would:

Require prospective contractors and their subcontractors to disclose labor law violations before they are awarded a federal government contract.
Ensure that corporations that repeatedly violate the rights of their employees and disregard workplace safety don’t receive federal government contracts.
Improve the efficiency of federal contracting and result in savings to American taxpayers.

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