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US district court rules United Space Alliance must give US Labor Department access to information for review of its Cape Canaveral, Fla., facility
Decision supports February ruling by Office of Administrative Law Judges
WASHINGTON — The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that United Space Alliance LLC must supply the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs with compensation information requested for a review of the company's Cape Canaveral, Fla., facility. The ruling upholds a Feb. 28 decision by the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges.
"Workplace discrimination is not universal, but it is far too common — and the people who suffer most are the American workers," said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. "At OFCCP, we are charged with identifying which federal contractors discriminate in their hiring and pay practices, and which are abiding by the law. We cannot serve our mission to protect workers if companies refuse to give us access to the records they promised to keep and share with us when they signed their contracts."
United Space Alliance, a spaceflight operations company and a joint venture between Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp., holds contracts with NASA worth at least $8 billion dollars.
In 2009, OFCCP asked for information about United Space's affirmative action program and supporting documents to conduct a scheduled compliance review. The initial review raised questions about the company's pay practices, leading OFCCP to request additional data and records in order to complete the evaluation. The company refused to provide the records or to allow OFCCP access to its premises to gather the requested information.
In November 2010, the Labor Department's Office of the Solicitor filed a complaint with the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges alleging denial of access and requesting that United Space Alliance be compelled to comply with the requirements of Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 4212 of the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act, as well as permit OFCCP access to its facility and records.
Following a February 2011 hearing, an administrative law judge ruled in favor of OFCCP and issued a recommended decision and order that the company provide access to the requested compensation information within 30 days or be subject to contract suspension, cancellation and debarment. After additional administrative procedures, United Space Alliance sought review of the decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia under the Administrative Procedures Act.
In a Nov. 14 decision, Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled in favor of OFCCP on all issues — rejecting every major argument United Space Alliance made — and ordered the contractor to provide the requested documentation. "The [d]epartment has merely required United Space to submit data about its employee compensation," said Lamberth. "Submission to such lawful investigations is the price of working as a federal contractor."
Lamberth's order will become enforceable on Nov. 28.
OFCCP enforces Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. As amended, these three laws require those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to follow the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For general information, call OFCCP's toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit its website at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp.
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