Under the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which is slated to go into effect in 2016 for many new contracts of at least $500,000, contractors must disclose labor law violations from the past three years. These violations will be evaluated by agency contracting officers to determine if the violations doom a potential contractor’s bid for federal work. The Executive Order also contains imperatives regarding pay information to be disclosed to workers, a prohibition against mandatory arbitration agreements for some large contracts, and the development of a website to manage the information collected under the Executive Order’s provisions. The Executive Order directs the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council to propose “necessary and appropriate” implementing regulations.
On July 21, President Obama amended Executive Order 11246 (which mandates affirmative action by federal contractors and subcontractors) and Executive Order 11478 (which bars discrimination against federal employees) to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. The U.S. Department of Labor will publish proposed regulations implementing this Executive Order before November.
Many employers are understandably concerned with the added expense of compliance resulting from the Obama administration’s recent Executive Orders and the new sanctions for wage and hour violations. Regulations under these two new Executive Orders are not likely to assuage those concerns.
Leigh Nason is a shareholder in the Columbia, South Carolina office of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak and Stewart, P.C., and chairs the firm’s Affirmative Action/OFCCP Compliance Practice Group. She currently devotes the majority of her practice to representing federal contractors and subcontractors in compliance evaluations and administrative enforcement actions triggered by the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).Ms. Nason has...