On March 31, 2022, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued its second directive of the Biden administration, Directive 2022-02, titled “Effective Compliance Evaluations and Enforcement.” The policies outlined in the new directive signal the end of the contractor friendly policies of the Trump era and a return to an enforcement heavy compliance regime.
Directive 2022-02 revokes several Trump era directives including Directive 2018-06, Contractor Recognition Program (Aug. 24, 2018); Directive 2018-08, Transparency in OFCCP Compliance Activities (Sept. 19, 2018); Directive 2020-02, Efficiency in Compliance Evaluations (Apr. 17, 2020); and Directive 2021-02, Certainty in OFCCP Policies and Practices (Dec. 11, 2020). These policies were initially developed as a part of the OFCCP’s CERT initiative towards certainty, efficiency, recognition and transparency in compliance.
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On March 31, 2022, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) opened the certification period for its new Federal Contractor Portal (Portal). Supply and service federal contractors and subcontractors (contractors) are required to certify the status of their annual affirmative action plans (AAPs) for each establishment before June 30, 2022.
As previously reported, the OFCCP opened the Portal for registration on February 1, 2022, allowing contractors to visit the site, register their company and validate their information. The OFCCP updated the resource landing page on its web page, which — in addition to a previously provided rollout timeline, user guide and FAQs — now includes additional FAQs addressing certification and registration, how-to videos, a user guide and one-page guides for registration and certification. Contractors are now required to register (if not done previously) and certify compliance.
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On Equal Pay Day (March 15, 2022), President Biden issued an executive order aimed at advancing the effectiveness in federal contracting by promoting pay equity and transparency in tandem with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ (OFCCP) first formal directive (DIR 2022-01) during the Biden administration on pay equity in federal contractors. The directive addresses the OFCCP’s position on obtaining compensation related documents sought during the agency’s audits, which includes pay equity review.
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On February 1, 2021, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) opened its new Federal Contractor Portal (Portal) for one-time registration and updated its website landing page with a Federal Contractor User Guide and additional FAQs. As previously reported, the OFCCP has implemented an annual affirmative action plan (AAP) certification process, which requires covered federal contractors and subcontractors (contractors) to register for the Portal and then annually certify they are meeting their existing requirement to develop and maintain annual AAPs. At this time, the Portal is open only for registration — it will not open for certification until March 31, 2022. The OFCCP encourages contractors to complete registration by March 30, 2022 to avoid any delays in the certification process.
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On December 7, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia issued a preliminary injunction temporarily in Georgia v. Biden, halting the enforcement of Executive Order 14042 (EO 14042) nationwide. In doing so, the court joined the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, which issued a preliminary injunction in Kentucky v. Biden last week halting the enforcement of EO 14042 in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.
Seven states — Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia — the governors of several of those states, and various state agencies filed the lawsuit in the Southern District of Georgia, challenging EO 14042 and requesting that the court issue a preliminary injunction. The Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC), a trade organization, moved to intervene in the action, and the court granted ABC’s request. In granting the preliminary injunction, the court determined that the plaintiffs met each of these required elements: (1) likelihood of success; (2) irreparable harm; (3) the balance of the harm; and (4) public interest.
Continue reading “Federal Court Suspends Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate Nationwide”
On December 2, 2021, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) officially announced its long-awaited annual affirmative action plan (AAP) certification process, which will require federal contractors and subcontractors (contractors) to register with its new Contractor Portal beginning in 2022.
The Contractor Portal will require covered contractors to certify whether they are meeting their existing requirement to develop and maintain annual AAPs. Specifically, contractors that hold a contract of $50,000 or more and employ 50 or more employees must develop and maintain AAPs pursuant to Executive Order 11246 and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. If a contractor has at least 50 employees and a contract of $150,000 or more, then it must also develop an AAP pursuant to the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. While contractors already certify AAP compliance, at least implicitly, as a part of the regular contracting process, this new requirement necessarily imposes an added obligation to conduct the appropriate diligence required in order to certify accurately and explicitly. As such, contractors need to be particularly mindful of False Claims Act exposure in the event of an inaccurate or false certification.
Continue reading “OFCCP Announces Long-Awaited Federal Contractor Compliance Portal”