Trump Administration Unlawfully Halted Pay Transparency Tool, Arguing It Was Too Burdensome for Employers

But After 2-Year Legal Battle by NWLC, LCLAA and Democracy Forward, Over 75% of Large Employers Submitted Federal Equal Pay Data for the First Time Ever


Washington D.C.
— Yesterday, the National Women’s Law Center and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, represented by Democracy Forward, opposed the Trump administration’s request to prematurely stop collecting data needed to enforce equal pay protections. In a lawsuit filed in November 2017, the groups successfully reversed the administration’s unlawful decision to stop the collection of pay data, which it based on erroneous arguments that collecting pay data by gender, race and ethnicity was too burdensome for employers with 100 or more employees. Validating the groups’ arguments and demonstrating that the requirement is not too burdensome, over 75% of large employers across the country have submitted the data in question following the Court’s reinstatement of the collection.

The groups also requested that the administration continue to file periodic status reports. Democracy Forward issued the following statement in response to the filing:

“This data is critical for combating wage discrimination, and the administration’s claims that collecting it is too burdensome are simply inaccurate. Despite the administration’s attempt to prematurely end the collection, the government’s own statistics show that more than three-quarters of filers reported this necessary data. We will keep fighting the Trump administration’s attempts to undermine protections against wage discrimination.” 

The government has appealed the Court’s order but this appeal did not dispute the determination that halting the pay data collection was unlawful. In a filing on October 18, 2019, plaintiffs responded to the government’s appeal explaining why the district court ruling was correct.

Timeline of Case:

 

In August 2017, Trump’s OMB ordered the EEOC to stay a pay data collection critical to enforcing the nation’s anti-discrimination and related civil rights laws.

In November 2017, the National Women’s Law Center and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, represented by Democracy Forward, filed a lawsuit against OMB and the EEOC.

In August 2018, documents also revealed that Ivanka Trump had a hand in the equal pay rollback.

In November 2018, the Court ordered the release of the full administrative record. The record revealed that OMB did not conduct an independent  analysis to halt the pay data collection, and instead merely parroted complaints from the Chamber of Commerce and other big business-backed lobbyists.

In March 2019, in a significant defeat for the Trump administration, the Court ruled that Trump’s OMB broke the law when it halted this critical tool and the Court fully reinstated the equal pay policy.

In April 2019, Democracy Forward challenged the administration’s failure to comply with Court order. The Court ordered the Trump administration to take immediate steps to comply with its March order. The administration was also required to provide full relief to the plaintiffs by collecting two years of pay data, and providing regular reports to the Court to ensure that it is on track to complete the data collection timely.

In May 2019, the administration appealed the case.

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Charisma Troiano
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Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.