Federal employees get more rights in protests

The Government Accountability Office has expanded the rights of federal employees to file protests against decisions in public/private competitions for contracts, GAO announced today.

Employees now can be represented by either the official who leads in developing the employees’ bid proposal or a person designated by a majority of the employees involved in the competition, according to GAO's notice in the Federal Register.

GAO’s actions came after Congress granted federal employees more protest rights in competitions against private contractors to perform government work. Congress made the changes in the fiscal 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, which became law in January.

However, GAO decided against giving a definitive answer on whether employees affected by the public/private competitions could get protected information related to a competition. GAO said that as cases develop, it will create more uniform procedures, the notice states.


GAO said an attorney who represents the protesting employees and is not a government employee would have to apply for access to the information, but federal employees representing themselves who are not attorneys would not have access to it. However, if a counsel who represents employees is a government employee, GAO will make its decision on a case-by-case basis, the notice states.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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