Justice Dept. gets $9M back from bankrupt vendor

The federal government is exacting a little payback from Global Computer Enterprises in the form of a False Claims Act settlement.

After GCE applied for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 in September, the Labor Department and the General Services Administration had to pay the company $23 million to get access to financial systems and data.

Justice Dept. sealNow the Justice Department is collecting $9 million back after GCE and its owner Raed Muslimani agreed to settle charges brought against them.

DoJ said in a May 7 press release that GCE and Muslimani do not admit to any wrong doing, but agreed to pay the $9 million fine.

Justice brought up charges against GCE and Muslimani claiming the company “misrepresented and/or concealed that it was utilizing engineers and other employees who were expressly prohibited from working on the contracts due to their citizenship/immigration statuses,” in contracts with Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), GSA, the Secret Service and the Coast Guard.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/130/3855194/Justice-gets-9M-back-from-bankrupt-vendor-GCE

Executive order will mandate federal contractors report labor law violations

Contractors will have to report any labor law violations to federal agencies under an executive order signed by President Obama July 31, 2014.

Contractors will need to disclose any labor law violations from the past three years before a contract can be awarded to them. Violations include family and medical leave, collective bargaining and wages.

The order would also charge agencies with taking contractor labor law violations into account when awarding contracts.

Only contracts valued at more than $500,000 would be affected and the order will be implemented in 2016.

The order also lays out rules for agencies and contractors.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/executive-order-will-mandate-federal-contractors-report-labor-law-violation/2014-08-04

Privately-financed development project not subject to Davis-Bacon Act, rules U.S. District Court

The Labor Department was wrong to declare a privately financed development project  a “public work” that would be subject to higher wages under the Davis-Bacon Act, a federal court ruled Monday in a lawsuit brought against the labor agency by the District of Columbia.

In the ruling, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said the “CityCenterDC” development won’t be built or used by the government or the public. While the mixed-use project of condominiums, apartments, offices, hotel, retail stores and some public open spaces will sit on a parcel of land owned by the District of Columbia, it will be entirely privately funded, occupied, and maintained for the duration of the developers’ 99-year leases with the city, Judge Amy Berman Jackson said in her decision.

That contradicts the decision that was made by the Labor Department’s Administrative Review Board, which had determined the project was a “public work” for purposes of the Davis-Bacon Act. That law — enacted during the Great Depression to stop contractors from driving down wages with cheap labor — requires the payment of local prevailing wages to workers on federal construction projects. The Labor Department determines the wages.

Legal experts who’d watched the case had said the Labor Department’s decision could have a significant effect on construction projects if it were to stand.

Keep reading this article at: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2014/04/01/court-rules-against-labor-department-in-citycenterdc-case

Study finds federal contracts given to flagrant violators of labor laws

A new congressional report criticizes the federal government for awarding tens of billions of dollars in contracts to companies even though they were found to have violated safety and wage laws and paid millions in penalties. Issued on behalf of the Democratic senators on the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, the report cited examples over the past six years.

For instance, Imperial Sugar had $94.8 million in federal contracts last year, even though it paid $6 million in safety penalties over a 2008 factory explosion in Georgia that killed 14 workers. The report also noted that the federal government had awarded $4.2 billion in contracts to Tyson Foods since 2000, even though Tyson has faced more than $500,000 in safety penalties since 2007 and 11 of its workers have died on the job since 1999.

The report urges the government to weigh a company’s safety and wage violations more closely as it awards contracts, which are about $500 billion a year to companies employing 26 million workers, representing 22 percent of the nation’s work force. It stops short of recommending automatic suspension of contracts or debarring contractors that were found to have violated federal laws, partly because government agencies were sometimes at fault, a committee staff member said.

“Taxpayer dollars are routinely being paid to companies that are putting the livelihoods and the lives of workers at risk,” the report said. “Many of the most flagrant violators of federal workplace safety and wage laws are also recipients of large federal contracts.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/11/business/study-finds-federal-contracts-given-to-flagrant-violators-of-labor-laws.html 

Virginia contractor sends WARN Act layoff notices

A Reston, Va.-based government contractor sent employees notices of potential layoffs due to across-the-board budget cuts from sequestration,The Washington Post reported.

Serco Inc. sent out Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notices to 770 employees in Maryland and Virginia. Candy Curtin, the company’s senior vice president for human resources, told the Post Serco was “advised by an attorney” that the notices would be the “best course of action.”

A spokesman for Serco told Government Executive that the “notices were sent out only as a possibility of what may happen due to sequestration,” and that so far “nothing has happened “ to Washington, D.C., area contracts that would necessitate layoffs.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2013/04/virginia-contractor-sends-warn-act-layoff-notices/62347/?oref=govexec_today_nl