On March 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed into law a Congressional Review Act (“CRA”) resolution repealing the so-called “blacklisting” rule, which would have imposed strict labor reporting and other requirements upon government contractors. This was followed by an Executive Order (“EO”) signed by President Trump the same day, effectively nullifying President Barack Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces EO that first called for the blacklisting rule.
In September 2016, a previous blog article discussed what the blacklisting rule would have required. Specifically, federal contractors would have been required to disclose violations of fourteen federal labor laws, including, inter alia, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, Davis-Bacon Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and Service Contract Act. In addition, the blacklisting rule would have forced contractors to adopt a “paycheck transparency” clause requiring the disclosure of specific information to workers each pay period regarding their wages, and would have prohibited contractors from requiring workers to sign arbitration agreements that encompass Title VII violations and claims of sexual assault or harassment.
In October 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas enjoined the enforcement of most provisions of the blacklisting rule, finding, inter alia, that they likely violated federal labor laws and First Amendment and due process rights. However, with President Trump’s March 27, 2017 signing of the CRA resolution and EO, contractors are now permanently relieved of all of the stringent requirements of the blacklisting rule, which would have come into effect beginning October 25, 2016.
The repeal of the blacklisting rule comes at a time when the Trump Administration is pushing for sweeping deregulation across all areas of the federal government, including with a January 30, 2017 EO calling for the elimination of two regulations for every new regulation promulgated. Accordingly, contractors should be on the lookout for possible regulatory repeals in the future affecting their businesses.