On March 4, a Federal court Ordered the Trump Administration to Reinstate a Critical Equal Pay Protection
Last Week, the Trump Administration Followed Corporate Lobbyist-led Effort and Sought to Stall Implementation of Wage Transparency Rule
Democracy Forward, National Women’s Law Center, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement Submit New Legal Filings in Response
Washington DC— In a new filing in federal court the National Women’s Law Center, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, and Democracy Forward pushed back against the Trump administration’s failure to comply with a federal court order requiring the reinstatement of a critical equal pay protection. The Trump administration’s actions follow an effort led by corporate lobbyists to delay the equal pay protection.
“After more than a month, millions of American workers are still waiting for the Trump administration to comply with a federal court’s order requiring that it reinstate the equal pay protection,” said Democracy Forward Executive Director Anne Harkavy. “The administration lost in court because it violated the law. Now it’s time for them to stop stalling and implement this critical pay equity requirement.”
“We are confident that the federal court will rule, again, that the pay data collection essential to addressing pay inequities will go forward – despite Defendants’ untimely arguments concerning the logistics related to data collection,” said Sunu Chandy, NWLC’s Legal Director. “The pay data collection requirements were well-known to Defendants for about a year before the stay in this case -and so it’s not credible that they’re as ill-prepared as they’re currently arguing. And even if they are, that does not excuse non-compliance with a federal court order.”
On March 4, 2019, a federal court ruled that Trump’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) broke the law when it stayed a requirement that large employers collect pay data by gender, race and ethnicity. In its ruling, the court found that OMB’s justification for the stay was “misdirected, inaccurate, and ultimately unpersuasive.” The court also determined that reinstatement of the annual pay data collection was the appropriate remedy, noting that employers had sufficient notice of the data collection and ample time to prepare. When the administration inexplicably failed to include the pay data collection in the current year’s equal employment data collection from large employers—despite the court requirement to do so— the court ordered the government to submit a plan for reinstating the equal pay protection. On April 3, 2019, the Trump administration reversed its prior assertion that it would only need “one day” to comply with the court’s order and told the court that it needed months to come into compliance, echoing arguments made by corporate lobbyists for further delay.
Yesterday, the plaintiffs responded to the administration’s filing, explaining that the administration’s attempt to justify its failure to comply with the court’s order was baseless, and that the administration’s plan failed to provide assurances that it would complete the equal pay data collection promptly.
The advocates also argued that the administration is using non-compliance to run out the clock on OMB’s three-year approval process for the data collection, set to expire September 30, 2019. The groups requested that the court reject the government’s proposed compliance plan and impose various conditions to ensure that the pay data collection is actually completed, as required.
On April 5, the plaintiffs opposed requests by corporate lobbyists to file amicus briefs. As plaintiffs argued, these employer groups had been following the litigation closely, yet they failed to seek to provide their views to the court at the appropriate time—before the court ruled in plaintiffs’ favor and reinstated the pay data collection. Rather, their current efforts to frustrate implementation of the pay data collection simply reflect their long-standing objections to wage transparency. For example:
In August 2016, DirectEmployers predicted that under a Trump administration, equal pay data collection would never “see the light of day,” since “Mr. Trump could easily just reverse President Obama’s decision on this controversial topic (and we predict a President Trump would do so quickly after taking office on January 20, 2017)”.
The Chamber of Commerce repeatedly lobbied OMB and EEOC to halt the data collection after Donald Trump took office, ultimately leading OMB to accept its arguments wholesale—an uncritical acceptance that the court found to violate the Administrative Procedure Act.
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.