On March 30, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision imposing certain socio-economic contract requirements on subcontractors operating hospitals associated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centers. See UPMC Braddock, et al. v. Harris, Civ. 09-1210 (PLF) (D.D.C. Mar. 30, 2013) (“UPMC Braddock”). Even though the hospitals’ subcontracts did not include these socio-economic clauses, the court applied the age-old “Christian Doctrine,” which assumes that certain contract requirements reflecting a “significant or deeply ingrained strand of public procurement policy” will apply to a Government contract even if those requirements have been omitted from the text of the actual contract. See G.L. Christian & Associates v. United States, 312 F.2d 418, 426 (Ct. Cl. 1963). Even though no court has ever before held in the 50-year history of the Christian Doctrine that this legal rule applies to subcontractors (Christian and its progeny apply only to prime contractors doing business directly with the U.S. Government), the court has now radically expanded the doctrine.
On July 14, 2011, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ (“OFCCP”) proposed rule implementing Executive Order 11246 became final. See 41 C.F.R. 60-2.1(d)(4). The new rule updates the procedures whereby a contractor submits both initial and renewal applications to obtain OFCCP approval for its Functional Affirmative Action Program (“FAAP”). These revisions are the product of a year-long review of the OFCCP approval process. "The FAAP is back and is better than before" claims OFCCP director, Patricia Shiu. Contractors, however, may beg to differ.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) recently proposed two rules that would, among other things, enhance the agency’s investigative and enforcement capabilities and substantially increase the amount of EEO-related data it will collect from contractors. These proposals should come as no surprise – OFCCP’s publicly available budget submissions to Congress for FYs 2011 and 2012 set out detailed explanations of the agency’s long-term enforcement strategy.
Two recent policy changes announced by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) likely will lead to a significantly greater number of and increased scope for investigations conducted by that Office into allegations of discrimination and pay disparity against Government contractors.
It has long been questioned whether the “Christian Doctrine,” pursuant to which mandatory contract clauses reflecting core procurement policy are incorporated into government prime contracts by operation of law, can be used to incorporate such clauses into subcontracts. That question may now have an answer. In a non-CDA decision issued last year that has flown somewhat “under the radar,” the Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) held that at least some such clauses are incorporated into subcontracts by operation of law. OFCCP v. UPMC-Braddock, ARB Case No. 08-048 (“UPMC-Braddock”).