Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP understands the unique legal and business challenges that companies experience when contracting with the U.S. government. Our lawyers regularly assist federal contractors and subcontractors with a wide range of employment-related compliance issues, including:
- complying with the laws administered by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and defending OFCCP audits
- meeting the requirements of prevailing wage laws, including the Service Contract Act (SCA) and the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA)
- preparing for, and complying with executive orders governing various labor and workplace issues
- developing policies and practices to meet the requirements for hiring employees working on federal contracts, such as adhering to the “revolving-door” rules, avoiding conflicts of interest, resolving denied-party screening (such as screening for ITAR/EAR) and addressing security clearance issues
- preparing and counseling contractors on structuring practical and legally-sound arbitration agreements and programs in light of evolving federal requirements
- creating and maintaining compliant business ethics policies and initiatives
- advising on compliance with the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act
- counseling and representing contractors in the unique issues that arise in defending and enforcing restrictive covenants in the government contracts context
- navigating reductions-in-force due to sequestration and temporary government shutdowns.
Government contractors can rely on our team’s collective knowledge and experience to minimize risk and uncertainty to meet their business strategies and objectives when seeking and doing business with the government. Our lawyers and government policy specialists have a wealth of contacts and experience to provide contractors with unique insight into the legislative process and history behind the many laws impacting federal contractors, providing unmatched guidance on compliance.
Affirmative Action and OFCCP Practice
Our Affirmative Action and OFCCP practice employs a collaborative approach to offer our clients comprehensive and practical solutions for their affirmative action compliance, ranging from development and implementation of Affirmative Action Plans (AAPs), through preparation and defense of OFCCP audits. Our team proactively prepares clients to defend OFCCP audits while minimizing costs, including compliance in the following areas:
- creating and structuring new AAPs, and reviewing and redesigning pre-existing AAPs
- conducting privileged-pay equity audits and discrimination analyses of hires, promotions and terminations
- reviewing, designing and implementing sound applicant tracking procedures and recruiting processes;
- conducting glass ceiling and corporate management audits
- providing management training related to OFCCP and Equal Employment Opportunity compliance
- defending OFCCP audits, including representation in negotiation with the Department of Labor U.S. Solicitor’s office
- representing contractors before administrative tribunals and federal courts
- negotiating consent decrees and conciliation agreements
- designing and implementing disability accommodation policies and practices
- creating and implementing diversity initiatives, including outreach and recruitment of females, minorities, veterans and individuals with disabilities.
We offer creative pricing and fee arrangements to help companies manage costs. For example, we often use fixed-cost pricing for comprehensive, privileged mock audits of a client’s AAPs and OFCCP compliance to identify gaps or red flags. Through this audit, we can resolve areas of noncompliance and assist in improving or creating a tailored AAP that meets the individual needs of our client’s business.
Service Contract Act Compliance
Over the last several decades, the U.S. government has increasingly relied on the private sector to fulfill its service needs. Contractors furnishing services to the federal government through the use of service employees must comply with the complex requirements and issues under the SCA. Our attorneys routinely assist federal contractors in navigating these complex requirements, including assessing SCA coverage of contractors; complying with the wage determination and fringe benefit obligations for employees and independent contractors; assessing pension contribution obligations and liabilities; and meeting requirements that arise with successor contracts, such as obligations under the executive order on “Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers.” We also assist clients with understanding and navigating the unique compliance issues arising from the intersection of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the SCA’s prevailing wage requirements, including creating policies and procedures to minimize the risk of potential violations. Our lawyers routinely assist employers in conducting self-audits of their SCA practices and resolving SCA actions and audits by the Department of Labor.
Davis Bacon Act Compliance
The DBA requires federal construction contractors to provide certain minimum wage and fringe benefit rates to laborers and mechanics working on federal and federally-assisted construction contracts. Many federal laws authorizing federal financial assistance for construction incorporate DBA minimum wage and fringe benefit pay requirements. Our team assists contractors with understanding the added compliance burdens and potentially greater direct labor costs imposed by the DBA. Our advice includes counseling contractors on various wage and fringe benefit issues, creating and submitting proper certified payrolls, and defending audits by the DOL of DBA compliance.