When Congress enacted the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 in December 2019, Congress included the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2019 (the Act). The Act, in relevant part, restricts federal contractors from requesting criminal history information from certain job applicants until after the applicant has received a conditional offer
On December 7, 2021, the U.S. District for the Southern District of Georgia, in Georgia v. Biden, No. 1:21-cv-163, granted a preliminary injunction that temporarily stayed the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors “in any state or territory of the United States of America.” The case was initially brought by Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia. The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), a national trade organization, intervened on the side of the plaintiffs. The seven states and ABC requested a preliminary injunction staying Executive Order (EO) 14042 and associated FAR clauses and Guidance, which require federal contractors and subcontractors to have their employees provide proof of vaccination in order to work on or in connection with federal contracts and also impose mask and social distancing requirements. The court granted the preliminary injunction and stayed the federal contractor vaccine mandate nationwide.
Continue Reading Georgia Court Blocks Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate Nationwide
On November 30, 2021, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, in Kentucky v. Biden, et al., No. 3:21-cv-00055, granted a preliminary injunction limiting the enforcement of the federal vaccine mandate for some federal contractors and subcontractors. The preliminary injunction was requested by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the State of Ohio, and the State of Tennessee. As a result, the court enjoined the federal government “from enforcing the vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors in all covered contracts in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee” pending further briefing and a full resolution of the case on its merits.
Continue Reading Kentucky Court Blocks Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate
As predicted, another Obama Administration “oldie but goodie” has made a return in the Biden Administration. On November 18, 2021, President Biden issued a new Executive Order entitled “Executive Order on Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts.” Many of the same concepts and requirements have returned, but there are also several notable changes.
Continue Reading Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers is Back, But With Changes
There are new developments regarding the federal contractor COVID mandate as of November 10, 2021. The most important is that the deadline for compliance appears to have been pushed back from December 8, 2021 to January 18, 2022.
Continue Reading UPDATE: Federal Contractor-Specific COVID-19 Workplace Safety Guidance Issued By The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force
President Biden’s September 9, 2021 Executive Order 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors, directs the federal Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (“Task Force”) to develop COVID-19 workplace safety guidance for federal contractors and subcontractors providing services to or for the federal government. The Executive Order requires the guidance to apply broadly, not only to contracts governed by the Federal Acquisition Regulations (“FAR”), but also to “contracts and contract-like” instruments not covered by the FAR. The Executive Order also directs the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to develop new contract clauses that will incorporate the Task Force’s guidance into new and newly-amended federal contracts.
Continue Reading Federal Contractor Specific COVID-19 Workplace Safety Guidance Issued By The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force
On September 9, 2021, President Biden held a press conference introducing the administration’s “Plan to Stop the Delta Variant and Boost COVID-19 Vaccinations.” At this conference, the President announced a pair of executive orders that mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for (1) employees of the executive branch of the federal government and (2) employees of federal contractors and subcontractors, and also announced a forthcoming Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding vaccinations and/or routine testing for employers with more than 100 employees.
Continue Reading Legal Overview – Executive Orders on Vaccine Mandates
For years, I have been blogging and speaking about the very real and very serious civil and potential criminal consequences of a failure to comply with the Davis Bacon Act. Every once in a while, a case comes along that drives those points home. One such case – involving criminal convictions for wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with what appears to be a blatant failure to comply with Davis Bacon Act requirements – is the recent decision in United States v. Estepa, No. 19-12272 (11th Cir. May 25, 2021).
Continue Reading Egregious Davis Bacon Act Violations Can Lead To Criminal Convictions
On April 27, 2021, President Biden issued a new Executive Order that raises the federal contractor minimum wage to $15 per hour, from the current $10.95 per hour, starting January 30, 2022.
Biden’s new Executive Order is nearly a word for word retread of the Obama Administration’s Executive Order 13658 (originally setting a $10.10 federal contractor minimum wage), with some notable exceptions:
- The federal contractor minimum wage is raised to $15 per hour starting January 30, 2022
- The current tipped worker federal contractor minimum wage, setting a lower hourly minimum wage just for tipped workers, is phased out by January 1, 2024; and
- The Trump Administration exemption for certain “recreational services on federal lands” (Executive Order 13838) is revoked.
What remains the “same” is the following:
Affirmative action requirements waived for contracts specifically related to COVID-19 relief
As in past times of national emergency, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has stepped up to exempt certain new federal supply and service contractors and subcontractors from having to comply with most OFCCP requirements over the course of the contract. Announced March 17, OFCCP calls the action the “National Interest Exemption.” Contractors providing supplies and services specifically related to COVID-19 relief must still abide by OFCCP’s non-discrimination and non-retaliation obligations and are subject to OFCCP complaint investigations. The exemption extends to the obligations of all three laws enforced by OFCCP: Executive Order 11246, § 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, and § 4212 of VEVRAA.