On June 16, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced a new benchmark for the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) of 6.9%, slightly lower than last year’s benchmark of 7%.
Under the doctrine of “implied false certification,” a plaintiff in a False Claims Act suit can claim that a government contract impliedly made a false certification by requesting payment without disclosing that it is in violation of government requirements. Before June 16, 2016, the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal were split on the question of whether implied false certification was a basis for liability under the False Claims Act. While the Fifth Circuit and Seventh Circuit held that implied false certification was not a permissible basis for liability, several circuits (including the Eleventh, which includes Alabama) held that it was. In Univ. Health Servs., Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar, 579 U.S. ____ (2016) (No. 15-7 October 2015 term) the U.S. Supreme Court resolved this circuit split, and held that implied false certification may, in certain circumstances, be a basis for False Claims Act liability.
Bob Dylan’s 1964 hit song “The Times They Are a-Changin’” is called to mind upon reading the OFCCP’s final rule about sex discrimination. (The OFCCP is the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the agency within the U.S. Department of Labor that enforces various anti-discrimination policies imposed on government contractors.)
On April 22, 2016, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced proposed rule changes about award fees. The proposed changes are a result of the NASA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) audit report, “NASA’s Use of Award Fee Contracts” (Report IG-14-003). The changes will be made in Parts 1816 and 1852 of Title 48 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).