Proposed Rule Would Help Protect Employees from Sex Discrimination
April 15, 2015 - Posted by Julie Faust
On April 2, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights submitted comments to the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) expressing strong support for its proposal to update sex discrimination rules for federal contractors and subcontractors.
Back in January, the OFCCP announced a notice of proposed rulemaking updating the sex discrimination guidelines for federal contractors – guidance that hasn’t been substantively updated since it was adopted in 1970 – to better address current workplace practices and align with current law.
While the employment landscape has greatly improved for women since 1970, significant and pervasive workplace discrimination persists. For example, White women today are paid 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, and African-American women make 64 cents for every dollar a White man makes. For Latinas, the figure is 54 cents. This wage gap not only hurts women, it also hurts the families that they work to support.
The proposed rule addresses a variety of barriers to equal opportunity and fair pay, including pay discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environments, pregnancy discrimination, and LGBT bias. The Leadership Conference strongly supports the rule because of its critical focus on reducing sex-based discrimination in the workplace. The rule will:
- benefit low-income women of color who disproportionately work in low-wage and physically-demanding jobs;
- reduce instances of pay discrimination, narrow the wage gap, and hold employers accountable;
- make clear that anti-LGBT bias is a form of unlawful sex-based discrimination;
- advise employers that they may not use stereotypes about caregiving to deny women access to high-paying jobs or career advancement opportunities; and
- help ensure that pregnant workers cannot be pushed out of their jobs or be forced to choose between the health of their pregnancy and their paychecks.
The Leadership Conference urges the OFCCP to adopt final regulations as soon as possible. Read the full comments here.