PilieroMazza’s Weekly Update is an e-mail sent on Fridays that recaps legislative and regulatory issues affecting businesses of all sizes. When government agencies propose significant changes to existing regulations or Congress passes legislation of special interest to the small business community, we follow-up the Weekly Update with an analysis of the proposed change and the likely impact on small business.

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Weekly Update for Government Contractors and Commercial Businesses - June 14, 2019

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FALSE CLAIMS ACT

Department of Justice – The DOJ announced that Richard Moore, the owner of Carolina Sodding Services, LLC, and Carolina Enterprises of the Lowcountry, LLC, agreed to pay $1.6 million to resolve allegations that he and his companies violated the False Claims Act by submitting false invoices for materials that were never provided and false certifications that his companies were women-owned businesses.

DOJ FCA investigations – According to Bloomberg Government, a federal district court in Indiana granted a petition for summary enforcement of a civil investigative demand (CID) issued by the DOJ because it sought testimony relevant to its FCA investigation, offering “rare clues” as to the appropriate scope of CIDs under the DOJ’s expansive CID authority.

LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW

U.S. Supreme Court – According to Law360, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state wage-and-hour laws do not apply to drilling workers off the coast of California, finding that, where a federal law covers a particular issue, a state law on the same issue cannot be applicable to the Outer Continental Shelf.

Federal Bureau of Investigation – According to Law360, a federal district court ruled that a group of women accusing the FBI of allowing rampant bias in its agent-training program cannot press their proposed class action anonymously because their privacy does not outweigh the public's interest in the suit.

WEBINAR: Employing Federal Contractors: An Overview of Labor and Employment Requirement for Government Contractors, June 19, 2019, Speaker, Sarah Nash. [More Info].

Use It Or Lose It: U.S. Supreme Court Holds Employers Who Wait Too Long to Raise EEOC Claim Objection to Title VII Discrimination Lawsuit May Forfeit Objection, June 14, 2019, Anthony M. Batt
Recently, in Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis, the U.S. Supreme Court was faced with a jurisdictional question: If a plaintiff fails to exhaust her remedies by first filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") claim, is she jurisdictionally barred from suing her employer for discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII")? In typical lawyerly fashion, the Supreme Court drew a distinction between "mandatory" and "jurisdictional" and answered with an "it depends." This blog addresses the importance of employers raising objections early when defending a case to avoid losing time and money. [Read More].
 

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS LAW

Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration – The DoD, GSA, and NASA issued a final rule amending the FAR to provide guidance to DoD, NASA, and the Coast Guard, consistent with section 822 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, and addressing the exception from certified cost or pricing data requirements when price is based on adequate price competition. The agencies issued Federal Acquisition Circular 2019-03 and the Small Entity Compliance Guide along with the final rule.

EVENT: Size and Status (Re)Certifications: Tripwires for Small Businesses, June 18-19, 2019, Speakers, Tony Franco and Peter Ford. [More Info].

EVENT: WOSB Program Training, 2019 Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) Business Leadership Conference, June 24, 2019, Speaker, Megan Connor. [More Info].

What Will Happen to the DoD's Mentor-Protégé Program? June 11, 2019, Emily J. Rouleau
As many of our clients know, there are several mentor-protégé programs run either by the SBA or specific agencies that are intended to help small businesses develop and enhance their ability to serve as a prime contractor or subcontractor in federal contracts. For example, the SBA has the 8(a) mentor-protégé program and the all-small mentor-protégé program, and it also approves agency mentor-protégé programs, such as the Department of Homeland Security's program, which is designed to help small businesses obtain and perform subcontracts under agency prime contracts. [Read More].

SMALL BUSINESS PROGRAMS & ADVISORY SERVICES

U.S. Senate – The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship held a hearing entitled “Reauthorization of the SBA’s Contracting Programs” on June 12, 2019. The archived webcast and copies of the panelists’ testimony can be found here.


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Weekly Update for Government Contractors and Commercial Businesses - June 7, 2019

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CYBERSECURITY & DATA PRIVACY

PilieroMazza hosted a dynamic conference on June 5, 2019 entitled “Gaining a Competitive Edge through Cyber, Data, & Personnel Security.” Nearly 100 attendees (federal contractors and their service providers) participated in multiple panel discussions that brought together perspectives from leading practitioners from GSA, Leidos, and NTT Data to discuss how cybersecurity, supply chain risk management, data rights, and personnel security are shaping the competitive landscape for federal prime contracts and subcontracts.

LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW

U.S. Supreme Court – According to Law360, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that federal courts may be able to hear discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act even if workers do not bring them to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or state workplace bias watchdogs first. The Court held that Title VII’s requirement that workers give the EEOC or a state enforcer a chance to resolve their claims before bringing them in court was not "jurisdictional.”

Department of Labor – The DOL announced that it debarred Pro-Fit Development Inc.—a development, construction, and roofing contractor based in Tampa, Florida—after an investigation found the employer violated requirements of the Davis Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA) and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA). Debarment prohibits the employer from bidding on federally funded construction projects for three years.

DOL Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs – According to Bloomberg Government, Craig Leen—the head of OFCCP—wants to be briefed by lawyers before they file legal complaints against federal contractors stemming from OFCCP audits. Bloomberg Government reported that Leen and Labor Solicitor Kate O’Scannlain—who oversees the DOL’s primary office of attorneys—signed a memo in March that also instructs lawyers to consult with OFCCP before filing material motions and briefs in those cases in order to confirm the briefs accurately present the facts and to confer on any policy decisions.

OFCCP also released its first opinion letter, finding that colleges and universities do not qualify as federal contractors solely because they participate in the federal Pell Grant program. The opinion letter, dated May 23, comes months after Director Craig Leen indicated that the agency would start borrowing the practice of issuing opinion letters from the DOL's Wage and Hour Division.

WEBINAR: Employing Federal Contractors: An Overview of Labor and Employment Requirement for Government Contractors, June 19, 2019, Speaker, Sarah Nash. [Register].

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS LAW

Government Accountability Office – The GAO released a report regarding its examination of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) implementation of acquisition process reforms that were included in recent National Defense Authorization Acts. The GAO found that the DoD has made progress in implementing reforms to restructure the oversight of major defense acquisition programs, and also made four recommendations as questions remained about how other reforms would be carried out.

EVENT: WOSB Program Training, 2019 Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) Business Leadership Conference, June 24, 2019, Speaker, Megan Connor. [Register].

SMALL BUSINESS PROGRAMS & ADVISORY SERVICES

Small Business Administration – The SBA announced the appointment of two new senior executives: George Koklanaris is now serving as the Associate Administrator for the Office of Small Business Development Centers, and Stefanie Baker Wehagen as the National Ombudsman for the Office of the National Ombudsman.

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Weekly Update for Government Contractors and Commercial Businesses - May 31, 2019

The DoD extended the comment period on a proposed rule that would amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement to implement sections of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 that require review and approval for certain cost-reimbursement contract types at specified thresholds and established time periods and the use of firm fixed-price contract types for foreign military sales unless an exception or waiver applies.

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Weekly Update for Government Contractors and Commercial Businesses - May 17, 2019

According to Law360, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the "government knowledge" statute of limitations applies in False Claims Act cases regardless of whether the government intervenes, expanding the time relators have to file FCA claims by up to four years in some circumstances.

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Weekly Report for May 10, 2018

The DOJ released guidance on how the targets of False Claims Act investigations can receive leniency in exchange for proactively disclosing misconduct. The guidance also explained how the DOJ awards credit to defendants who cooperate with investigations.

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