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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

DOD issues contract language to enforce anti-bias training order

The Defense Department has issued its class deviation to put requirements in all new DOD contracts banning anti-bias and discrimination training as described in President Trump’s executive order signed off on in September.

The deviation applies to all solicitations issued on or after Nov. 20, plus solicitations issued before Nov. 20 that will be awarded after Nov. 20.

It appears the deviation doesn’t applied to already awarded contracts.

A second similar deviation is to be issued for civilian contracts, but as of yet isn’t public.

One interesting side note is that the memo attached to the deviation says: “This class deviation remains in effect until it is incorporated in the FAR or otherwise rescinded.”

Now that Joe Biden is president-elect, many in industry expect him to rescind this executive order along with several other Trump administration moves that don’t support Biden administration priorities

But any move to rescind isn’t clean and simple. It wouldn't automatically unwind contract language and I have been told that will take some more time.

A second complicating factor is the class deviation also cites Executive Order 11246 that was signed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 to band discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. That order from LBJ is a bedrock of the ideal of equal employment.

So contractors need to pay attention -- don’t just think that Trump’s executive order and its impact will simply go away on Jan. 20.

The class deviation doesn’t have any surprises. It repeats the primary elements from the executive order, particularly section 4.

Also still in effect also are Labor Department initiatives including a hotline where anyone can call and complain about anti-bias and discrimination training they think violates the executive order.

And I have to say, the definitions of what training violates the order are very much open to interpretation. The executive order and the class deviation paint the issue with a very broad brush.

The Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance also has an active request for information that requires contractors to submit copies of training, workshops and other programs they provide employees on anti-bias and anti-discrimination.

Copies are due Dec. 1.

A civilian version of the DOD class deviation is expected any time now. According to the president’s executive order, the new contract language took effect Nov. 21. But I guess that’s a deadline civilian agencies will miss.

This might not be an issue by the spring but that is still months away.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Nov 24, 2020 at 11:05 AM

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