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OFCCP Disclaims Jurisdiction Over Participants in the Defense Department’s SkillBridge Job Training Program

On November 8, 2019, OFCCP released another opinion letter clarifying the extent of its jurisdiction over government contractors.  In the letter, OFCCP opined that participants in the Department of Defense’s SkillBridge Program are not government contractors subject to the obligations of Executive Order 11246, as amended, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, or VEVRAA.

The SkillBridge Program aims to provide service members with opportunities to gain civilian work experience and training by matching service members with civilian employers and allowing service members to receive civilian on-the-job training during their last 180 days of military service.  OFCCP reasoned that the SkillBridge Program does not qualify as a procurement contract because the government does not obtain property or services for its direct benefit.  Accordingly, the program is more akin to a cooperative or grant agreement, which is not a government contract.

As in its earlier opinion letter regarding Pell Grants, OFCCP in the SkillBridge Program opinion letter takes a more conservative approach to its jurisdiction in the context of government programs that are not traditional procurement contracts.  Polsinelli will continue to update the contractor community on OFCCP developments.

© Polsinelli PC, Polsinelli LLP in California

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About this Author

Conne Bertram Government Contract Lawyer Polsinelli Law Firm
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Connie focuses her practice on whistleblower, trade secrets, government contractors and employee mobility counseling and litigation. She frequently conducts confidential internal investigations involving executive-level employees, including alleged fraud, theft or misuse of company data, trade secrets, sexual harassment and code of conduct violations. She routinely counsels, investigates and litigates restrictive covenant and trade secrets disputes between employers and former employees.

Connie has defended complex whistleblower, trade secrets and restrictive...

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Jack Blum Polsinelli Employment Attorney
Associate

Jack Blum is an associate in the firm’s Employment Disputes, Litigation, and Arbitration practice, where he represents employers in connection with a wide range of employment law issues. Jack has extensive experience in defending employers against claims by their employees in federal and state courts, as well as before government agencies like the EEOC, Department of Labor, and state human rights commissions. Jack aggressively defends his client’s personnel practices and decisions while not losing sight of their underlying business goals and objectives. Jack represents clients in all aspects of complex employment litigation and has advised and defended employer clients regarding a wide variety of employee claims, including:

• Employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation
• Wage and hour
• Employment contract disputes
• Independent contractor/employee misclassification audits 
• Tort claims arising out of the employment relationship

Jack also has extensive experience representing parties in litigation arising from employee mobility, including claims involving non-competition, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements as well as the misappropriation of trade secrets. Significantly, Jack has experience in both prosecuting and defending these claims and is, therefore, able to offer clients a well-rounded assessment of their options and courses of action. Jack also has experience redressing employee data breaches under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Jack also has a background in employment counseling, where he has worked closely with in-house counsel, human resources personnel, and business executives to craft personnel policies that meet the client’s business requirements while complying with applicable laws. Jack has particular experience in assisting clients with issues relating to employee/independent contractor classifications, and regularly advises clients regarding the defensibility of classifications, drafts independent contractor agreements to provide the strongest possible arguments in support of the classification, and defends misclassification claims asserted by employees and government agencies. Jack also walks clients through sensitive personnel actions to reduce the potential for litigation or at least best position the client in the event that litigation is inevitable. Jack draws heavily upon this counseling experience in representing clients in litigation.

During law school, Jack served as a legal intern in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Inspector General where he contributed to several high-profile internal investigations, and also interned with the Maryland Attorney General’s Office.

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