Each year, the U.S. government awards hundreds of billions of dollars in federal contracts to businesses to meet the needs of federal agencies and the military. Because of their scope, these federal contracts can be very important to the businesses that win them. But these often-coveted contracts come with a lot of strings.
Contractors must meet strict qualifications to bid on a federal government contract. These qualifications vary depending on the particular contract. Once a bid is awarded, the contractor must continue to adhere to the government’s rules and requirements or risk losing the contract.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) enforces compliance with the affirmative action requirements imposed on federal contractors. If a business has a federal contract, subcontract, or federally assisted construction contract, it may be subject to some or all of the affirmative action requirements OFCCP enforces. In general, any business that does the following must comply with one or more of the requirements OFCCP enforces:
Failure to comply with OFCCP’s requirements may subject a federal contractor or subcontractor to an audit and/or an OFCCP-imposed penalty or remedy.
A few years ago, to help contractors improve their understanding of their equal employment opportunity obligations, OFCCP released a 2017 Action Plan. More recently, OFCCP released its 2019 Town Hall Action Plan. The 2019 plan identifies six action items and recommendations to enhance compliance assistance between OFCCP and contractors:
As these action items and recommendations will undoubtedly be a focus of OFCCP going forward, contractors—and would-be contractors—should be aware of them and utilize OFCCP’s tools in their work, including the 2017 plan and the 2019 plan. Awareness of these action items and recommendations will help ensure that businesses will continue to be eligible to receive future federal contracts.