• California company accused of sanctions violations challenges U.S. Treasury Department
  • Appeals court generally sides with government but remands because of arbitrary and capricious decision related to five alleged violations
  • Traditional interpretation of “inventory exception” is considered by Court

It is rare for companies to go to court to fight penalties imposed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for violations of U.S. sanctions. It is even more rare for a court to make any sort of finding against the agency.  Yet that is exactly what happened when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) recently considered OFAC’s imposition of penalties against Epsilon Electronics (Epsilon) for alleged violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Continue Reading Rare Court Case Sheds Light on U.S. Sanctions Enforcement

Later this month, the GSA will issue a refresh to all GSA Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) to incorporate new provisions and clause updates. Even if you are already a GSA Schedule holder, keep reading – a bilateral modification will be issued for your contract.

Continue Reading April Showers Bring Mass Mods: New GSA Schedule Refresh and Mass Modification

I will be speaking at the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) East Tennessee Chapter February General Membership meeting on the topic of, “SBA’s New Mentor Protégé Program and How it Can Help You Win New Federal Contracts.” The NCMA meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 and will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. For more information and registration, click here.

The FAR Council issued a final rule on December 20, 2016, amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to add FAR Subpart 24.3, requiring privacy training for all contractor employees who (1) access a system of records; (2) handle personally identifiable information (PII); or (3) design, develop, maintain, or operate a system of records. A “system of records” is a “group of any records under the control of any agency from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual.” 5 U.S.C. § 552a(a)(5); FAR 24.101.

Continue Reading The FAR Council Wishes Contractors a Happy New ‘Privacy Training’

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17 NDAA), signed into law by President Obama on December 23, includes limitations on a low price evaluation methodology and a preference for fixed price contracts that could have a significant impact on the way the Department of Defense (DoD) procures goods and services in the coming years. The FY17 NDAA also featured changes to the task order protest jurisdiction, which we outlined in this blog post.

Continue Reading LPTA Out, Fixed Price Contracts In

Just one month after the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas shut down a Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces final rule, the District Court has enjoined the implementation of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule updating its Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) exemptions.  Had these gone into effect, they would have had a significant impact on government contractors’ labor costs.

In 2014, President Obama directed DOL to update and modernize its overtime regulations to be consistent with the intent of the FLSA. The FLSA provides for minimum wage and overtime pay protections for those covered by the Act. Exempted employees generally fall into the executive, administrative and professional (EAP) categories, and DOL has used the following three tests to determine whether an exemption applied: salary basis test, salary level test and duties test. “Exempt” employees are not eligible for overtime pay (time and a half) for hours worked over 40 in a work week.

Continue Reading DOL Oversteps Overtime Regulations

Government contractors are learning the hard way that agencies need to be kept apprised of major changes within the company during the entire period of bid evaluations. Most recently, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) made an example of Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems, Inc. (LMIS), which was excluded from awards for failure to disclose its spin-off agreement with Leidos.

Continue Reading Buyer Beware: Lessons of Disclosure Learned the Hard Way

Over the past year, the big news for companies doing or considering business in Iran has been the scaling back of U.S. and EU economic sanctions. Many global businesses are now permitted to operate in this once prohibited market. Before we celebrate too enthusiastically, however, let’s stop for a moment to consider a potential challenge for some companies trying to capitalize on this new opportunity.

This time, we are focusing on a conundrum specific to companies that contract with the U.S. government.

Continue Reading Iran on Your Mind? The FAR Should Be, Too.

On October 24, 2016, U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone granted a preliminary injunction to halt the implementation of the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” Executive Order 13673 (EO 13673), implementing provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) in the final rule, and Department of Labor (DOL) guidance that impose new reporting requirements on contractors regarding labor law violations.

Continue Reading Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Not “Fair” to Contractors, According to Texas Judge

In an article published by SmallBizDaily, Bass, Berry & Sims attorneys Todd Overman and Sylvia Yi provided insight on the regulatory improvements to the SBA’s Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program that helped the federal government finally achieve its goal of awarding five percent of its annual contracts to WOSBs. As Todd and Sylvia point out in the article, Fiscal Year 2015 marked the first time the federal government has met (and exceeded) its WOSB goal, coming in at 5.05 percent. The most significant changes that led to this successful year were concentrated within the past couple of years, including a December 2015 amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) authorizing contracting officers to issue sole source awards to WOSBs.

The full article, “Contracts to Women-Owned Businesses Exceeds Expectations,” was published by SmallBizDaily on September 14, 2016, and is available online.