Effective March 31, 2023, OFCCP rescinded the Trump administration’s Final Rule, Implementing Legal Requirements Regarding the Equal Opportunity Clause’s Religious Exemption (Final Rule).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
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
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS, are long-lasting chemicals that are quickly gaining notoriety for both their persistence in the environment and their ubiquity in water, air, and soil. Developed in the 1950s, PFAS are used in a wide range of products including firefighting foam, stain-resistant and water-repellant fabrics, nonstick cookware and many others. Concerns over PFAS contamination are mounting and the associated caselaw is growing. Federal contractors could be impacted by PFAS in two primary ways: first, contractors may face PFAS-related litigation resulting from the manufacture and distribution of affected products and second, contractors may have to adjust specifications to comply with the government’s shift away from products containing PFAS.
Continue Reading PFAS and Federal Contracting: What Contractors Should Know and Why
- Federal contractors and subcontractors who filed Type 2 EEO-1 Reports for the years 2016-2020 are advised that the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) intends to release the data from such filed EEO-1 Reports unless they file written objections asserting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) objections by no later than September 19, 2022.
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
Imagine as a supplier of medical oxygen cylinders and tanks in your region, you enter into an arrangement with HHS or DHS to provide oxygen to nearby hospital facilities dealing with surges in the COVID-19 pandemic. However, due to the recent dramatic surge in your area and the significant demand for oxygen, the government moved quickly to award you a contract that appears very different from other federal contracts you have previously signed.
Continue Reading Terminations for Convenience Clauses vs. Mutual Termination Clauses: What are the Limits on the Government’s Right to Terminate?
On July 29th, 2021, President Biden announced additional efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates and to protect the federal workforce, including strengthening safety protocols for federal employees and contractors. Under the Biden Administration’s new guidance, in areas of high or substantial transmission of COVID-19, federal employees, contractors, and visitors must wear a mask inside federal buildings with limited exceptions. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must wear a mask regardless of community transmission level.
Continue Reading President Biden Announces New COVID-19 Safety Protocols for Onsite Federal Contractors
On June 1, 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that it intends to use the federal government’s purchasing power to grow federal contracting with small disadvantaged businesses by 50 percent, translating to an additional $100 billion over five years. This is one of many new steps intended to help narrow the racial wealth gap and reinvest in communities. In explaining this new policy goal, the Administration recognized that:
Continue Reading Biden-Harris Administration Announces Increase in Federal Contracting Goals for Small Disadvantaged Businesses
The Small Business Administration’s HUBZone program provides federal contracting assistance for qualified small business concerns located in historically underutilized business zones in an effort to increase employment opportunities, investment, and economic development in such areas. The Small Business Administration defines HUBZones and publishes a map identifying the location of all HUBZones. Certified businesses located in a HUBZone are eligible to participate in the HUBZone program goal of awarding at least three percent of federal contract dollars.
Continue Reading SBA Extends the HUBZone Map Freeze to June 30, 2023
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:Continue Reading $15 Federal Contractor Minimum Wage