As expected, President Donald J. Trump has made repeal of the Obama Administration’s so-called “blacklisting rule” for federal contractors official.
On March 28, Trump issued an Executive Order that, as promised, nullifies the controversial legislation.
On Aug. 24, the Department of Labor and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council announced final regulations and guidance implementing a 2014 executive order by President Barack Obama. The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Directive set the stage for requiring that prospective federal contractors disclose labor law, civil rights, and wage violations. It also required guidance for contracting agencies on how to factor in labor violations when awarding federal contracts and sub-contracts valued at more than $500,000.
Pervasive, prolonged, willful, or serious violations could be used to block a company’s bid under the rule.
Prospective contractors were required to disclose violations of 14 laws (among them the Fair Labor Standards Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, National Labor Relations Act; Americans with Disabilities Act, and Family and Medical Leave Act). The rule also limits the use of pre-dispute arbitration clauses in employment agreements on covered federal contracts.
Earlier this month, the Senate voted 49 to 48 to eliminate the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule, echoing a House vote in February. Republicans in both chambers relied upon the Congressional Review Act to repeal the rule. That once infrequently used law allows for a majority vote to repeal late term rules by the previous administration.
A prevailing point of contention, among government contractors, was that companies would be forced to report citations in the midst of an agency appeal or court challenge.