New contracting rule targets confidentiality agreements with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) ammendment

The federal government to crack down on contractor confidentiality agreements with a proposed amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

DoD, GSA, and NASA are proposing to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement a section of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, that prohibits the use of funds, appropriated or otherwise made available, for a contract with an entity that requires employees or subcontractors to sign an internal confidentiality agreement that restricts such employees or subcontractors from lawfully reporting waste, fraud, or abuse to a designated Government representative authorized to receive such information.

The amendment, called for by the 2015 appropriations law, could block contractors that require employees or subcontractors to sign confidentiality agreements if those internal agreements keep workers from reporting waste, fraud and abuse to the government. The ban would apply to contracts paid with appropriated funding for fiscal year 2015 on.

The proposed FAR amendment would further systemize what such investigative bodies as the Securities and Exchange Commission have determined – that contractors will not slap gag orders on workers to keep them from blowing the whistle on waste, fraud or abuse.

Comments on the proposed amendment are due March 22 and full details can be viewed online

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