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Kris D. Meade is co-chair of Crowell & Moring's Labor & Employment Group. He is also a member of the firm's Management Board and Executive Committee. He counsels and represents employers in the full range of employment and traditional labor law matters, including individual and class action lawsuits filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, ERISA, and companion state statutes. Kris represents employers in connection with union organizing campaigns, collective bargaining, labor arbitrations, and unfair labor practice litigation. In 2020, Chambers USA recognized Kris as a leading labor and employment lawyer.

Now more than ever, federal contractors find themselves at the intersection of innovation and regulation, particularly in the realm of Artificial Intelligence (AI).  AI is now incorporated into a broad range of business systems, including those with the potential to inform contractor employment decisions.  For that reason, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has issued new guidance entitled “Artificial Intelligence and Equal Employment Opportunity for Federal Contractors” (the “AI Guide”).  OFCCP issued the AI Guide in accordance with President Biden’s Executive Order 14110 (regarding the “Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence”), which we reported on here.  The AI Guide provides answers to commonly asked questions about the use of AI in the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) context.  The AI Guide also offers “Promising Practices,” which highlight a number of important considerations for federal contractors.  Focusing on federal contractors’ obligations and attendant risks when utilizing AI to assist in employment-related decisions, the AI Guide also provides recommendations for ensuring compliance with EEO requirements while harnessing the efficiencies of AI.Continue Reading Harmonizing AI with EEO Requirements: OFCCP’s Blueprint for Federal Contractors

On January 30, 2024, the FAR Council issued a proposed rule entitled “Pay Equity and Transparency in Federal Contracting” (“Proposed Rule”). The Proposed Rule would: (1) prohibit contractors and subcontractors from seeking and considering information about job applicants’ compensation history when making employment decisions about personnel working on or in connection with a government contract; and (2) require contractors and subcontractors to disclose, in all advertisements for job openings involving work on or in connection with a government contract placed by or on behalf of the contractor or subcontractor, the compensation to be offered to the hired applicant for any position to perform work on or in connection with the contract.Continue Reading U.S. Chamber Submits Comments on the FAR Council’s Proposed Rule Regarding Pay Transparency

Following a January 29, 2024 White House announcement and Fact Sheet, on January 30, 2024, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Proposed Rule) on salary-history bans and pay transparency for applicants and employees of federal contractors and subcontractors. On the same day, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued some FAQs on the compensation history issue. These actions by the federal government to ban prior salary information and require compensation information in job postings echo the efforts of multiple states and municipal governments that have enacted similar salary history bans and/or compensation disclosure requirements:Continue Reading Show Me the Money: Contractors and Subcontractors May Soon Be Subject to Pay Transparency Requirements, Which May Also Trigger New Bid Protest Issues

On May 1, 2023, the Biden Administration announced its plan to issue an Executive Order in the coming days to rescind the existing executive order that imposes COVID vaccine requirements and safety protocols on federal contractors.  Specifically, Executive Order 14042 on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors will be rescinded effective May 12

This week, the Department of Labor (DOL) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memo directing all agencies to designate “agency labor advisers” who are responsible for advising agencies on “Federal contract labor matters.”  FAR Part 22 contemplates the appointment of “agency labor advisors,” and requires contractors to contact them about potential labor

The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued updated guidance for federal contractors on October 14, 2022, announcing that it will reevaluate enforcement of the federal contractor vaccine mandate and safety requirements issued under Executive Order 14042.  This is the first pronouncement from the Task Force after it had indicated that it would not enforce the

As outlined in our prior client alert, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (the “OFCCP”) published a Notice in the Federal Register to federal contractors of a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request for disclosure of Type 2 Consolidated EEO-1 Report data submitted by all federal contractors and first-tier subcontractors from 2016 until

On August 31, 2022, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force announced that the Federal Government “will take no action to implement or enforce Executive Order 14042,” the contractor vaccine mandate, “to ensure compliance with an applicable preliminary nationwide injunction, which may be supplemented, modified, or vacated, depending on the course of ongoing litigation.”

This announcement

Responding to significant uproar from the federal contracting community, on August 18, 2022, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) issued a revised version of its Directive 2022-01 – Advancing Pay Equity Through Compensation Analysis, which was originally issued on March 15, 2022.  The Revised Directive is, per the OFCCP, intended to clarify its earlier guidance addressing federal contractors’ regulatory obligation to evaluate “compensation systems” as part of their affirmative action programming, and the documentation the OFCCP expects contractors to provide to the OFCCP regarding their analyses.  Most importantly, the Revised Directive steps back from the position the Agency took in the March 15 Directive with regard to the applicability of the attorney-client privilege to analyses contractors are required to undertake pursuant to the Agency’s regulations.  The Agency had previously taken the position that contractors conduct undefined “pay equity” analyses pursuant to the Agency’s regulatory obligation and, as a result, could not assert attorney-client privilege over such analyses.  Continue Reading OFCCP Issues Revised Directive Addressing Privilege Concerns, But Significant Concerns Remain

On August 19, 2022, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (the “OFCCP”) published a Notice in the Federal Register to federal contractors of a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request from Will Evans of the Center for Investigative Reporting (“CIR”) for disclosure of Type 2 Consolidated EEO-1 Report data submitted by all federal contractors and first-tier subcontractors from 2016 until 2020.  In order to determine whether this information is protected from disclosure under FOIA Exemption 4, which protects disclosure of confidential commercial information, the OFFCP requested that federal contractors whose information would otherwise be subject to this request submit objections to the OFCCP by September 19, 2022.  Type 2 EEO-1 reports are one of the mandatory submissions that multi-establishment employers file annually, consistent with their obligations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the OFCCP’s regulation. They consist of a consolidated report of demographic data for all employees by employer establishment, categorized by race/ethnicity, sex and EEO-1 job category.  Notably, the FOIA request at issue does not seek production of Component 2 compensation data included in the EEO-1 reports submitted by federal contractors and subcontractors in 2017 and 2018.Continue Reading Federal Contractors Have Until September 19, 2022 to Object to Disclosure of EEO-1 Data Subject to Pending FOIA Request