This news is a few days old at the moment, but we’d like to comment on it.

The US Department of Agriculture recently withdrew a proposed rule that would have affected contractors in the jurisdiction of both the USDA and the OFCCP.  It would have required contractors for the USDA to verify that they “were in compliance with all applicable labor laws,” and verify it for their subcontractors as well.  This withdrawal likely happened in response to comments received during the NPRM (Notice of Proposed RuleMaking) process.

It was scheduled for enforcement beginning February 29.

Many groups, including the Equal Employment Advisory Council (EEAC) and the US Chamber of Commerce were against the proposed rule.  Primary reasons include the overwhelming nature of the work required for proof, the utter complexity and number of often conflicting laws, and the punitive nature of the rule when not complied with.

This seems like a good decision.  First, any given contractor cannot be expected to verify their suppliers and subcontractors are compliant with all labor laws.  And even the OFCCP will only issue a citation when a company is making good faith efforts to uphold the law.  Imagine if they required a full verification process!  And anyway, the DOL, via the OFCCP, already works to ensure government contractors are obeying labor laws.