The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) in late September 2013 published a Final Rule that makes changes to the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 503) at 41 C.F.R. Part 60-741. Section 503 prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against individuals with disabilities, and requires them to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these individuals. The new Section 503 regulations became effective on March 24, 2014, except for certain contractors with a written affirmative action program (AAP) in place. Recently, the OFCCP posted a checklist tool designed to assist contractors to assess their compliance with the Section 503 AAP requirements. OFCCP cautions that using the checklist does not ensure compliance, however, it should help contractors to enhance their awareness of their AAP obligations and alert them to potential compliance problems. Continue reading
In a case that does not seem to have attracted much notice, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a very long opinion rejecting the arguments made by a number of major business trade groups that the new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) union election rules exceed the agency’s statutory authority, are arbitrary and capricious and violate employers’ rights under the First and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. This case is Chamber of Commerce of the United States, et al. v. NLRB, decided July 29, 2015. Continue reading
Anyone having a business relationship with the U.S. Government who believes the Government or one of its representatives has acted, or failed to act in such a manner as to cause harm, should be aware of the restrictions placed on governmental liability by the Federal Tort Claims Act, especially the discretionary function exception to liability as interpreted by the courts.
On July 27, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) against the United States and the National Park Service following the death of a visitor to the Olympic National Park in the State of Washington. The case is Chadd v. United States, et al.. A large, wild mountain goat was known by National Park Service personnel to pose a threat to anyone at any time and, in 2010, it fatally attacked a visitor to the Olympic National Park, and only then was it “destroyed.” Continue reading
Recently, Pillsbury attorneys Fred Lowell , Emily Erlingsson, Anita Mayo and Kathy Donovan published their client alert titled D.C. Circuit Upholds 44-Year-Old Ban, The answer is still “no” for individual federal contractors wishing to contribute to federal candidates and parties. The Alert discusses the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s recent decision in Wagner, et al., v. Federal Election Commission, upholding the ban on individual federal contractor contributions to federal candidates and political parties. The same rationale should apply to corporate federal contractors. The Court of Appeals did not address the ban on federal contributions by corporate federal contractors or whether federal government contractors may make independent expenditures or contributions to Super PACs.
Additional Source: Federal Election Commission, Court of Appeals Issues Opinion in Wagner, et al. v. FEC
Beginning July 1, 2015, in Washington, to protect against unlicensed electrical contractors fraudulently obtaining electrical work permits, electrical contractors purchasing electrical permits using the paper application form will be required to print their name and mark their affiliation with the company on the permit application. The customer service representative will then check the license information to confirm that the person purchasing the permit is authorized under Washington Administrative Code section 296-46B-901(3) to do so. If the person identified on the permit application is someone other than the assigned administrator, master electrician, owner, principal of the corporation, or a documented authorized signer, the customer service representative will not sell the permit.
On June 2, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided the case of Adkisson v. Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.. The Court of Appeals reversed the federal district court’s dismissal of lawsuits premised on the argument that Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. was entitled to derivative governmental immunity based on its contractual relationship with a government entity protected by the Federal Tort Claims Act, directing the district court to its decision. The Court of Appeals noted that the extent of immunity for government contractors has been debated by the courts of appeals, suggesting that the Supreme Court may want to take another look at some of its rulings in this area.
Recently, a California Court of Appeals, in East West Bank v. Rio School District, concluded that “a dispute over the contract price does not entitle a public entity to withhold funds due a contractor,” avoiding the Public Contract Code § 7107 penalties. It further noted its disagreement with the 2009 decision in Martin Brothers Construction, Inc. v. Thompson Pacific Construction, Inc., 179 Cal.App.4th 1401 (2009), and confirmed that the doctrine of unclean hands does not apply to Section 7107.
Recently, the California Contractors State License Board announced that it will be hosting a seminar/webcast to help contractors to comply with the new requirements imposed by Senate Bill 854, including the requirement that contractors register with the Department of Industrial Relations in order to bid or be listed on a bid for a public works project and to work on a public works project awarded on or after April 1, 2015.
Today, Pillsbury attorneys Glenn Snyder and Matt Valdez published their client alert titled Enhanced Infrastructure Districts: A Flexible New Tool for Local Governments. The Alert discuss the developments occurring after the dissolution of California redevelopment agencies (RDAs) in 2011. In particular, many local governments desired a tool to raise capital to invest in infrastructure and community revitalization. On September 29, 2014, Senate Bill 628 was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. SB 628 grants cities and counties the power to create Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts (EIFDs) in order to finance public capital facilities or other specified projects of communitywide significance that provide significant benefits to the district or the surrounding community; and expands on the powers granted to cities and counties pursuant to Infrastructure Financing Districts (IFDs) and Community Facility Districts (CFDs). In turn, the EIFDs provide greater flexibility to local governments seeking to invest in infrastructure and community revitalization, including a lower voter approval threshold to issue bonds and a wider range of infrastructure investments.
Yesterday, we published our client alert titled House Small Business Bill Could Have a Large Impact on Small Businesses. The Alert discusses the House Small Business Committee’s recent approval of The Small Contractors Improve Competition Act of 2015 (H.R.1481) (“SCICA”). SCICA would amend the Small Business Act and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, and is intended to increase the number of awards made to small businesses by addressing several perceived obstacles that inhibit opportunities to increase small business participation in Federal contracting.