STATEMENT: CAP’s Jocelyn Frye on President Obama’s Action on Equal Pay

Washington, DC – Today, President Obama took a major step forward in the fight for equal pay for equal work by making clear that retaliation and deception have no place in the modern workplace. The president announced two common-sense actions that will help undo secretive practices that shield discrimination from view and ensure enforcement agencies have access to better information. In response to the executive action, Center for American Progress expert Jocelyn Frye issued the following statement:

This executive order sends a clear message that retaliation and threats on the job will not be tolerated. Employees who chose to discuss their pay should not be put at risk of losing their job, being demoted, or denied a job opportunity. Too often, rules prohibiting discussions about pay are used to protect discriminatory practices from coming to light and create a culture of secrecy that has no place in the 21st century American workplace.

The president’s action also addresses the fact that for years, federal enforcement agencies have been limited in their ability to combat pay discrimination because they do not have regular information about how much all federal contractors pay their employees. Having accurate information about an employer’s pay practices is essential in enforcing the law effectively and vigorously.

Equal pay is not solely a women’s issue, but a family issue and an economic issue. The actions taken by the president today make clear his commitment to use the full power of the federal government to make the promise of equality a reality for all—and that is welcome news for women, for families, and the nation.

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