Procurement

New contracting rule targets confidentiality agreements

whistleblower

The federal government is advancing a crackdown on contractor confidentiality agreements with a proposed amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

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

In recent years, restrictive confidentiality agreements sparked investigations of such contractors as Kellogg Brown & Root  and International Relief and Development, both major players in Iraq and Afghanistan work.

The proposed FAR amendment would further codify what such investigative bodies as the Securities and Exchange Commission have determined -- that contractors can’t slap gag orders on workers to keep them from blowing the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse. Comments on the proposed amendment are due March 22.

About the Author

Zach Noble is a former FCW staff writer.

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