New Executive Order and Memorandum Regarding Pay Discrimination Enforcement for Federal Contractors


By: Joyce Mocek 
Recently, to honor Equal Pay Day, President Obama amended Executive Order 11246 to further prevent workplace discrimination and empower workers to take control over negotiations regarding their pay.   The Amendment is intended to prohibit discrimination or retaliation against “any employee or applicant because such employee or applicant has inquired about, discussed or disclosed the compensation of the employee or applicant or another employee or applicant.”  The Administration has maintained that this Amendment is to create more transparency for federal employees, and to ensure that federal contractors and subcontractors may discuss their compensation without fear of adverse action.
Additionally, on the same day, the President issued a Memorandum directing the Department of Labor to publish proposed regulations within 120 days that will require federal contractors and subcontractors to submit data to OFCCP on their employees relating to pay, race and gender.  The President’s directive is intended to result in the OFCCPs ability to access pay data from contractors and then use the data to conduct focused compliance audits and investigations for potential discrimination.   It is also argued that this will help employers take proactive efforts to ensure fair pay for all their employees.
These developments continue to illustrate the Administration’s focus and support of discrimination enforcement efforts, and reinforces the need for employers to conduct internal in-depth analysis and reviews of their pay systems for potential discrimination so as to avoid future potential liabilities and issues.