Since 2021, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been increasingly focused on adjudicating False Claims Act (FCA) matters for deficient cybersecurity practices. As the government increases scrutiny of data privacy and cybersecurity, it is increasingly important to develop and maintain robust cybersecurity systems, educate employees, and ensure adequate risk management. Taking time now to shore up your data privacy and cybersecurity will help to avoid FCA challenges in the future.Continue Reading Avoiding the False Claims Act with Good Cyber Practices
Once again, the threat of a government shutdown looms over federal contractors and grantees. If Congress does not pass a continuing resolution or other funding legislation before midnight on Saturday, agencies will lack authorized appropriations to fund their operations. Although regrettable, the risk of a shutdown (or debt ceiling crisis) has been a fairly common occurrence over the last few years.Continue Reading Dusting off the Government Shutdown Playbook
For the first time in 40 years, the Department of Labor (DOL) updated its interpretation and implementation of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts in new final rules.Continue Reading New Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Regulations to Expand DOL Authority
On June 29, 2023, in a 6-3 decision authored by Chief Justice Roberts, Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, the U.S. Supreme Court held that college and university race-conscious admission decisions at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. But what impact does this have on federal contractors subject to affirmative action obligations to provide equal employment opportunities to minorities and women under Executive Order 11246 as well as on employers that have voluntarily adopted diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives?
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The ongoing debt ceiling negotiations are approaching the “X Date” with little certainty of a resolution. The X Date, the date on which the U.S. Government runs out of money to pay all of its bills, is estimated to be June 1. Failing to raise the debt ceiling by that date would be unprecedented and, by most accounts, would have dire consequences for the economy.Continue Reading Implications of the Debt Ceiling for Government Contractors
Husch Blackwell attorney Tracey O’Brien has posted about the new guidelines OFCCP released on veteran hiring benchmarks, reducing the national annual benchmark to 5.4%.Continue Reading OFCCP Publishes Annual Veteran Hiring Benchmark and New Self-Identification of Disability Form
Effective March 31, 2023, OFCCP rescinded the Trump administration’s Final Rule, Implementing Legal Requirements Regarding the Equal Opportunity Clause’s Religious Exemption (Final Rule). The Final Rule was issued in December 2020, during the waning days of the Trump administration. While the text of OFCCP regulation, 41 C.F. R. 60-1.5(a)(5) (OFCCP religious exemption), was not changed by the Final Rule, the Final Rule did add 1) a new paragraph with definitions to terms used in the religious exemption under Executive Order 11246 (E.O. 11246), and 2) a new rule of construction applicable to the religious exemption. The recission of the Final Rule follows OFCCP’s March 1, 2023 recission of Directive 2018-03, which contained the legal interpretations and policies reflected in the Final Rule.Continue Reading OFCCP Rescinds 2020 Final Rule Regarding Religious Exemption
On April 18, 2023, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in two consolidated cases that have the potential to upend False Claims Act (FCA) litigation. Oral argument on both sides and questioning from the Justices indicated tensions and sincere disagreement over the complexities of applying the False Claims Act’s scienter element in areas of ambiguity.Continue Reading SCOTUS Signals Likely Reversal in <em>SuperValu</em>, Arguments Reflect Concerns over Application to Other FCA Cases
Cybersecurity-related FCA cases poised to increase as FCA enforcement ramps up
On February 7, 2023, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that settlements and judgments under the False Claims Act exceeded $2.2 billion during the 2022 fiscal year and that the government posted its second-highest number of settlements and judgments in a single year.Continue Reading DOJ Posts Near-Record Year of False Claim Act Settlements and Judgments
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has made several announcements, including Directives, Notices, and Proposals in their quest to embark on initiatives that significantly impact federal contractors’ affirmative action obligations.Continue Reading Changes and Challenges Relating to Affirmative Action Obligations Federal Contractors Face in 2023