A new executive order from President Obama will make it harder for companies to win federal contracts if they violate their workers’ rights and withhold their wages, the White House announced Thursday.
Under the new rules, companies that apply for federal contracts larger than half a million dollars will have to disclose any major labor law violations they or their subcontractors have committed in the previous three years. Agencies will prioritize companies with clean records over those that abuse their workers’ rights when weighing contract bids. Each executive branch agency will have a specific bureaucrat in charge of determining whether a company’s lapses “rise to the level of a lack of integrity or business ethics,” according to a White House fact sheet on the rules.
The package of reforms will also prohibit companies that do business with the government from requiring their workers to agree to arbitration processes for workplace harassment or civil rights complaints, guaranteeing that workers who are sexually harassed or discriminated against can get their day in court.