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Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement; Extension of Restrictions on the Use of Mandatory Arbitration Agreements (DFARS Case 2011-D035)

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Department of Defense (DoD).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

DoD is issuing a final rule to implement section 8102 of the DoD and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 and similar sections in subsequent appropriations acts, to extend the restriction on the use of mandatory arbitration agreements, when awarding contracts that exceed $1 million, to use of 2011 and subsequent fiscal year funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act or any subsequent DoD appropriation act. Section 8102 allows the Secretary of Defense to waive applicability to a particular contractor or subcontractor, if determined necessary to avoid harm to national security.

DATES:

Effective date: June 29, 2011.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Julian Thrash, 703-602-0310.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

Section 8102 of the DoD and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations, 2011 (Pub. L. 112-10), prohibits the use of Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 funds for any contract (including task or delivery orders and bilateral modifications adding new work) in excess of $1 million, if the contractor restricts its employees to arbitration for claims under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, or tort related to or arising out of sexual assault or harassment, including assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, or negligent hiring, supervision, or retention.

This rule does not apply to the acquisition of commercial items. Section 8102(b) requires the contractor to certify compliance by subcontractors.

Additionally, enforcement of the mandatory arbitration provisions related to the covered areas, does not affect the enforcement of other aspects of an agreement that is not related to those areas.

This rule allows the Secretary of Defense to waive applicability to a particular contract or subcontract, if determined necessary to avoid harm to national security.

Section 8102 of the DoD and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations, 2011, extends the restrictions of section 8116 of the Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (Pub. L. 111-118). In implementing section 8116, public comments were obtained under DFARS Case 2010-D004.

This final rule does not constitute a significant DFARS revision as defined at FAR 1.501-1 because the requirements are already in place and this final rule merely extends the existing DFARS coverage. Therefore, there is no significant cost or administrative impact on contractors or offerors resulting from issuance of this rule and public comment is not required in accordance with 41 U.S.C. 1707(a).

Since DoD anticipates that this will be an ongoing requirement, this rule applies to use of all subsequent fiscal year funds appropriated or otherwise made available under subsequent DoD appropriations acts. If the restriction is removed at a future date, DoD will amend the DFARS accordingly.

II. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This is a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was subject to review under section 6(b) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

III. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act does not apply to this rule. This final rule does not constitute a significant DFARS revision within the meaning of FAR 1.501 and public comment is not required in accordance with 41 U.S.C. 1707.

IV. Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply because the rule does not impose any information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.

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List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 212 and 222

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Mary Overstreet,

Editor, Defense Acquisition Regulations System.

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Therefore, 48 CFR parts 212 and 222 are amended as follows:

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1. The authority citation for

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Authority: 41 U.S.C. 1303 and 48 CFR chapter 1.

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PART 212—ACQUISITION OF COMMERCIAL ITEMS

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2. Amend section 212.503 by revising paragraph (a)(xi) to read as follows:

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Applicability of certain laws to Executive Agency contracts for the acquisition of commercial items.

(a) * * *

(xi) Section 8116 of the Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010 Start Printed Page 38048(Pub. L. 111-118) and similar sections in subsequent DoD appropriations acts.

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3. Amend section 212.504 by revising paragraph (a)(xix) to read as follows:

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Applicability of certain laws to subcontracts for the acquisition of commercial items.

(a) * * *

(xix) Section 8116 of the Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (Pub. L. 111-118) and similar sections in subsequent DoD appropriations acts.

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Subpart 222.74—Restrictions on the Use of Mandatory Arbitration Agreements

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4. Revise section 222.7400 to read as follows:

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Scope of subpart.

This subpart implements section 8116 of the Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (Pub. L. 111-118) and similar sections in subsequent DoD appropriations acts.

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5. Amend section 222.7402 as follows:

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(a) Revise the introductory text to paragraph (a) as set forth below; and

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(b) Revise paragraph (b) as set forth below.

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Policy.

(a) Departments and agencies are prohibited from using funds appropriated or otherwise made available by the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations Act (Pub. L. 111-118) or subsequent DoD appropriations acts for any contract (including task or delivery orders and bilateral modifications adding new work) in excess of $1 million, unless the contractor agrees not to—

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(b) No funds appropriated or otherwise made available by the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations Act (Pub. L. 111-118) or subsequent DoD appropriations acts may be expended unless the contractor certifies that it requires each covered subcontractor to agree not to enter into, and not to take any action to enforce, any provision of any agreement, as described in paragraph (a) of this section, with respect to any employee or independent contractor performing work related to such subcontract.

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6. Revise section 222.7405 as follows:

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Contract clause.

Use the clause at 252.222-7006, Restrictions on the Use of Mandatory Arbitration Agreements, in all solicitations and contracts (including task or delivery orders and bilateral modifications adding new work) valued in excess of $1 million utilizing funds appropriated or otherwise made available by the Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (Pub. L. 111-118) or subsequent DoD appropriations acts, except in contracts for the acquisition of commercial items, including commercially available off-the-shelf items.

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[FR Doc. 2011-16315 Filed 6-28-11; 8:45 am]

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