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New executive order addresses labor law records of contractors

California employees of federal contractors may find a recent executive order signed by President Obama to provide relief in cases where labor practices may seem questionable. The order was signed on July 31, implementing principles that may motivate contractors to more carefully adhere to employment law. The requirements will not be implemented until 2016. However, the effects of current practices may play a role in a contractor's ability to secure a federal contract.

Prior to obtaining a federal contract, a company will be expected to disclose civil judgments, arbitration awards or administrative merit determinations occurring in the previous three years and related to specific federal laws, state laws and executive orders. These reports must be provided prior to bidding and during the award phase. Additional reports must be made every six months following the award of a contract. A related employee rights requirement in the executive order stipulates that employers must disclose classification information to workers related to their positions as either employees or as independent contractors. As contractors make their semi-annual updates of violation information, they will also be responsible for providing such information as it pertains to subcontractors working under them.

A worker dealing with problems related to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and other employment laws may find that there is pressure to dismiss violations that really warrant formal attention. This might seem to be an effort to minimize the level of violations in order to preserve a contractor's status. Legal advice may be warranted if serious issues continue unresolved.

An attorney may assist an employee in evaluating on-the-job concerns in light of the related laws. This may provide strategies for handling future situations on the job so as to end illegal practices and to bring accountability where negative practices are occurring.

Source: The National Law Review, "President Obama Signs Executive Order on Federal Contractor Blacklisting", August 01, 2014

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