Friday, August 1, 2014

New Executive Order - Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces

Yesterday, July 31st, the President signed an executive order (EO) that will require companies interested in doing business with the Government to disclose recent violations of a panoply of labor related laws. Additionally, the EO prevents contractors from forcing employees to agree to arbitration in lieu of going to court. Although not stated, these disclosures will probably be incorporated into SAM (System for Award Management) where many representations and certifications already reside.

The disclosure requirement applies to contracts in excess of $500 thousand while the forced arbitration prohibition applies to solicitations in excess of $1 million.

Under the EO requirements, prospective contractors must make an affirmative representation that there have not been any administrative merits determinations, arbitral award or decisions, or civil judgment rendered against it within the preceding 3 years for violations of:

  • The Fair Labor Standards Act
  • OSHA Act of 1970
  • National Labor Relations Act
  • Davis-Bacon and Service Contract Acts
  • EEO
  • Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Civil Rights
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Age discrimination
  • Executive Order requiring Government contractors to pay minimum wage.
  • And more.
If there are any violations, the contracting officer, as part of the responsibility determination, will provide the offeror an opportunity to disclose the steps taken to correct the violations or improve compliance with the labor laws listed earlier including any agreements entered into with an enforcement agency. The agency's Labor Compliance Advisor will review the disclosure and advise the contracting officer as to its sufficiency and adequacy.

Many labor contracts contain provisions that employees in the case of labor disagreements, employees agree to arbitration in lieu of taking the matter to court. Under this new EO, contractors are precluded from requiring arbitration. Now, arbitration to settle disputes can only be made with the voluntary consent of the employee.

The entire Executive Order can be read by following this link. Be warned - its lengthy.

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