Tuesday, November 5, 2019

New Executive Order Rescinds Rules on Offering Incumbent Employees Right of First Refusal

Last week, the President issued an Executive Order (EO) that revoked one of President Obama's first Executive Orders; Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts.

This EO is called "Improving Federal Contractor Operations by Revoking Executive Order 13495.

The now rescinded EO required that successor Federal contractors in certain circumstances offer a right of first refusal of employment to employees employed under the predecessor contract.

The new EO requires the Labor Department, the FAR Councils and heads of all executive departments and agencies to promptly move to rescind any orders, rules, regulations, guielines, programs, or policies implementing or enforcing the old EO. Also, the Labor Department must terminate, effective immediately, any investigations or compliance actions based on the old EO.

The 'right of first refusal' has been criticized by some contractors for being unnecessary. As a matter of practice, successor contractors would naturally want to hire qualified employees of the incumbent contractor. However, the rule also discouraged contractors from hiring workers that might be better suited for a particular job. Additionally, successor contractors felt compelled to offer employment to unsuitable candidates just to avoid a Labor Department investigation.  That concern was born out by some extreme Labor Department enforcement actions.

Since this EO has immediate application, it is likely that there are solicitations on the street that contain the old EO provisions and FAR provisions implementing that EO. The now rescinded rules might have an impact on what offerors are willing to bid.

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