Department of Labor Issues New Protections for Employees of Federal Contractors and Subcontractors

This summer, the federal government issued two important new regulations that apply to federal contractors and subcontractors.  These regulations help to make sure that taxpayer dollars do not reward companies that break that law, and that contractors who meet their legal responsibilities should not have to compete with those who do not.

Meanwhile, public pressure continues to build for the government to order federal contractors to adopt “model employer” standards, which include paying a living wage, providing benefits, and letting workers form Unions without reprisal.

Sex Discrimination Regulations
On June 14, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a final rule updating sex discrimination regulations that apply to federal contractors and subcontractors.  The prior regulations were extremely outdated and remained unchanged since they were originally issued in 1970. The new regulations are intended to clarify contractors’ obligations, bring them up to date, and align them with current anti-discrimination law, eliminating the confusion that resulted from the previous outdated guidelines.

The new regulations are available in the Federal Register at 81 FR 39107 and in the Code of Regulations at 41 CFR 60.  The Department of Labor has also posted FAQs regarding the new regulations.

Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces (Executive Order 13673)

On August 25, 2016, the DOL and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council) issued a final rule and guidance implementing the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, signed by President Obama on July 31, 2014.

The Executive Order requires contractors and subcontractors seeking to do business with the federal government to disclose labor law violations within the last three years.  It also requires federal contracting officers to consider those violations when evaluating current and potential federal contractors.

The requirements of the Executive Order, final rule, and guidance are extensive, and also include paycheck transparency requirements, limitations on federal contractors’ and subcontractors’ ability to impose mandatory arbitration, and other provisions.  The Department of Labor has posted FAQs summarizing the Executive Order, final rule, and guidance.

Please contact your labor law counsel with any questions regarding these new regulations. 

By Minsu D. Longiaru | October 11, 2016

Legal Developments