Despite recent political shifts away from globalization, international trade remains a bedrock of the U.S. economy, and companies doing business in the United States must be cognizant of the intricate set of export control regulations promulgated by the U.S. government. In today’s rapidly changing economy, it is more important than ever for companies to thoroughly assess their connections to the international marketplace. While the Obama Administration took strides toward simplifying the export control process, U.S. export control regulations remain complex due to the multiple government stakeholders involved, resulting in varying interpretations, policies, and agendas. Export control violations can still carry serious ramifications for a company’s business practices both inside and outside the United States. Accordingly, the first of this three part series begins by identifying whether your business may be subject to the U.S. export controls regime. Our next two installments will then, respectively, address: (Part 2) practical strategies for addressing risk mitigation; and (Part 3) enforcement actions by the government. Continue reading “Managing the Export Controls Minefield (Part 1 in a Series)”
In what may be the most significant change to contractor compliance this year, the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces final rule takes effect on October 25, 2016. On August 25, 2016, the FAR Council and Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued the final rule and guidance implementing the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, also known as “The Blacklisting Order” (originally issued on July 31, 2014). The order created new requirements for contractors, adding pre- and post-award reporting demands on covered contracts regarding contractor compliance with 14 separate labor laws. The proposed rule that was published on May 28, 2015, resulted in over 10,000 comments being submitted. The rule contains substantial new compliance obligations for contractors and drastic consequences for noncompliance. As discussed below, contractors need to take immediate steps in order to ensure readiness for these expansive new obligations. Continue reading “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Final Rule Takes Effect in October: Are You Ready?”
After a long wait and much anticipation, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) issued its final rule expanding the mentor-protégé program to all small businesses on July 25, 2016. The new rule broadly expands upon the existing 8(a) mentor-protégé program, and is projected to result in $2 billion in federal contracts to program participants. Though the final rule largely tracks the February 2015 proposed rule, which we previously wrote about here, the final rule does make some key changes, including changes regarding size certification and reporting. As the new rule goes into effect on August 24, 2016, contractors both large and small should prepare now to take advantage of what the newly expanded program has to offer. Continue reading “SBA Final Rule Expanding Mentor-Protégé Program to Take Effect This Month”
David Yang and Christian N. Curran
On June 16, 2016, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Universal Health Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar, holding that “implied certification” is a valid theory of liability under the False Claims Act (“FCA”), and further concluding that a failure to comply with a contract requirement, regulation, or statute may support a false claims case even if the provision is not an “express condition of payment.” While the unanimous opinion settles the debate over the viability of the implied certification theory, its reliance on a subjective materiality standard will likely make FCA cases more difficult to resolve on the pleadings and also increase the number of FCA cases filed. Continue reading “How UHS v. U.S. ex rel. Escobar Will Impact Government Contractors”
In February the Department of Labor (“DOL”) published a proposed rule implementing the mandate of Executive Order 13706 to require that all federal contractors provide paid sick leave to their employees. The rule will significantly impact government contractors. DOL estimates that the rule will require the provision of paid sick leave to over 800,000 contractor employees, over half of which currently have no such benefits at all. The rule will also require extensive recordkeeping and related tracking efforts for compliance and reporting purposes which will significantly increase administrative burdens for contractors at substantial cost. The proposed rule will apply to all contracts solicited or awarded after January 1, 2017. The key provisions of the proposed rule are as follows.
- Amount of Sick Leave: The rule requires that one hour of sick leave be provided for every thirty hours of work on covered contracts, for a minimum total of 56 hours per year.
- Covered Contracts: The proposed rule would apply to several categories of contracts, including construction contracts covered by the Davis-Bacon Act, service contracts covered by the Service Contract Act, concessions contracts, and contracts regarding federal property or lands and relating to services for federal employees, dependents, or the public.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is setting its sights on individual accountability for corporate wrongdoing. That is the message that DOJ has been promoting following the recent internal memorandum issued by Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates titled “Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing” (the Yates Memo), which relates to DOJ’s practices in conducting corporate investigations. Although the idea of holding individuals accountable for corporate wrongdoing is not new, the Yates Memo’s relative focus on individuals as part of corporate investigations suggests more scrutiny of individuals in civil and criminal investigations. This focus complements a well-documented increase in the suspension and debarment of individuals in recent years, and reinforces the heightened risks that business owners, executives, managers, and employees face throughout the government contracting community.
The Yates Memo presents a good opportunity for government contractors to review their compliance programs in the new year—and in particular their practices for conducting internal investigations—to ensure that they are actively managing the risks presented by this professed focus on individuals. This alert summarizes the Yates Memo and offers three tips to government contractors to consider in response. Continue reading “The Justice Department’s Yates Memorandum and Three Tips for Government Contractors to Manage the Risks”
If you are a multi-million dollar company and receive a subpoena for your documents and records, you simply send it to the legal department. But what if you are a smaller healthcare provider? Responding to a government subpoena can be daunting, especially if it is your first one, and you may not have the personnel or resources to respond without a significant disruption to your business. Does the subpoena mean you or your company is about to be charged with a crime? Do you have to submit original records? Will the government insist on the production of all documents within the often broadly worded scope of a subpoena? How do you deal with electronic information on your computer system? How do you protect patient confidentiality? Will your insurance help with the costs of complying with the subpoena? What can you do to ensure the company is prepared ahead of time?
Step One: Issue a Document Hold Notice and Consult Counsel
The first thing you should do when you receive a government subpoena is issue a written notice to your employees to protect and maintain any documents and records that may be encompassed by the subpoena. As part of that process, you will also need to suspend any records destruction practices that you currently have in place. The failure to produce or preserve potentially relevant documents and information can result in significant exposure. Courts have regularly penalized companies and individuals who fail to produce or preserve potentially relevant materials. It is important to send the notice out as soon as possible and to thoroughly document its distribution. You should also simultaneously consult with counsel to review the subpoena and ensure that you are taking all necessary steps to preserve information. Continue reading “We Just Received a Government Subpoena. Now What?”