Photo of Michelle Coleman

On November 1, 2021, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force) issued new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for federal contractors that are subject to Executive Order (EO) No. 14042 on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors.  The new guidance addresses requests for accommodations, applicability to corporate affiliates, and recommendations for enforcement and compliance.  As required by the implementing contract clause, covered contractors are required to comply with this new guidance.

Requests for accommodations:  First, the FAQs state that requests for accommodation do not need to be resolved before a covered contractor employee begins work on a covered contract or at a covered workplace.  While requests are pending, these employees must follow workplace safety protocols for employees that are not fully vaccinated as specified in the Task Force Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors, which Crowell addressed in client alerts on September 24, 2021 and October 6, 2021.  On the other hand, for covered employees that are not vaccinated because they received an accommodation from the covered contractor, agencies are entitled to determine which protocols such employees must follow when they enter a federal workplace.  Notably, agencies may determine that mandating the vaccine is the only safety measure available.  In such cases, covered employees with accommodations would be unable to work at the federal workplace but the contractor would not be relieved from meeting its contractual requirements.  Covered contractors could presumably take the same approach for employees that only or occasionally work at a covered contractor workplace.  Additionally, covered contractors should notify their contracting officer when one of their employees who works at a federal workplace has received an exception to the requirement to be fully vaccinated.

Corporate Affiliates:  Second, the FAQs clarify that corporate affiliates of a covered contractor that do not otherwise qualify as covered contractors may be covered by the vaccine mandate if: “(i) either one controls or has the power to control the other; or (ii) a third party controls or has the power to control both.”  Indicia of control also include interlocking management or ownership, identity of interests among family members, shared facilities and equipment, or common use of employees.  Therefore, employees of a corporate affiliate of a covered contractor working at the covered contractor’s “covered contractor workplace” will be subject to the vaccine mandate.  Additionally, a facility that is owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by an affiliate that is not a covered contractor will be considered a “covered contractor workplace” subject to the vaccine mandate where an employee of the affiliated covered contractor working on or in connection with a covered contract is likely to be present during the period of performance.
Continue Reading Task Force Issues New FAQs for Contractor Vaccine Requirements

Executive Order 14042, issued on September 9, 2021, requires that certain federal contractors and subcontractors mandate vaccinations against COVID-19 for covered employees in addition to requiring compliance by covered employees and visitors with other COVID-19 safety protocols.

However, E.O. 14042 leaves several questions unanswered, including how agencies should implement the order and, in some cases,

Following President Biden’s announcement of Executive Order 14042 (“EO”) on September 9, 2021, several agencies have issued guidance on the EO’s applicability to the contractor community, which we reported on here.  Further to GSA’s September 30, 2021 Class Deviation CD-2021-13, on October 6, 2021, GSA reiterated that a mass modification program for all

This afternoon, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued its Guidance regarding COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors (at all tiers), pursuant to President Biden’s September 9, 2020 Executive Order.  The 14-page Guidance addresses the following topics:

  • Vaccination requirement.  The Guidance mandates vaccinations, with exceptions only for those employees legally

In Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, ASBCA No. 62209 (a C&M case), the Board granted Lockheed Martin’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of whether the Government can assert laches as an affirmative defense to a Contract Disputes Act claim. In a case of first impression, Lockheed Martin argued that the affirmative defense of

The Federal Circuit recently affirmed the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals’ (CBCA) decision denying a pandemic-related claim in Pernix Serka Joint Venture v. Secretary of State, CBCA No. 5683, 20-1 BCA ¶ 37,589.  Pernix involved a firm-fixed-price construction contract in Sierra Leone that was impacted by an Ebola outbreak several months into the project.  The Department of State (DOS) declined to provide direction or to issue a suspension of work order, and instead advised Pernix to make its own business decisions regarding performance and employee safety.  Pernix chose to demobilize its workforce and, later, to remobilize with the addition of its own on-site medical facility and services.  Pernix then submitted a claim for the increased medical, safety, and demobilization and remobilization costs.  DOS granted an adjustment to the schedule for the Ebola-related delays under the contract’s excusable delay clause, but denied Pernix’s monetary claim.
Continue Reading Federal Circuit Affirms Board Decision on Pandemic-Related Claim

In URS Federal Services, Inc., ASBCA No. 62475 (March 23, 2021), the Board dismissed a contractor’s three-count complaint for lack of jurisdiction on one count and for failure to state a claim on the other two.  The Board first addressed Count III, which alleged that the Government had breached the implied duty of

In Creative Management Services, LLC, dba MC-2 v. U.S. (Feb. 26, 2021), the Federal Circuit affirmed a Court of Federal Claims decision dismissing a contractor’s appeal of the government’s Contract Disputes Act (CDA) claim as untimely, holding that the contractor appealed more than 12 months after receiving a contracting officer’s (CO) final decision. On appeal, the contractor alleged that the final decision was not a valid claim because it did not state a “sum certain” as required by the CDA, and this deficiency meant that the 12-month appeal period had not started to run.

The contractor was awarded a General Services Administration (GSA) task order to provide marketing and logistical support for an annual GSA conference, and was required to keep the revenue it collected for the conference in a trust account. When GSA canceled the conference in the fourth year and asked the contractor to return all remaining money in the trust account, the contractor refused and submitted a termination for convenience proposal to GSA. GSA subsequently issued two letters to the contractor demanding an accounting of the trust account and all money that remained in it. The CO then issued a final decision on the contractor’s termination proposal and on GSA’s claim to the remaining funds in the trust account, without providing a dollar amount. The contractor filed suit three years after the final decision was issued, challenging the government’s claim to the trust account funds.


Continue Reading Show Me the Money? When a Sum Approximate Counts as a Sum Certain

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the Act), signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021, extends Section 3610 of the CARES Act (previously discussed here, here, and here) through September 30, 2021. The extension allows federal agencies to reimburse contractors for six additional months of paid-leave costs if

In BAE Systems Ordnance Systems, Inc., ASBCA No. 62416 (February 10, 2021), the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals addressed whether an request for equitable adjustment (REA) constituted a Contract Disputes Act (CDA) claim. BAE submitted a series of REAs that it consistently labeled and characterized as such and certified in accordance with