DOL GRANTED SUMMARY JUDGMENT BY DISTRICT COURT IN UNITED SPACE ALLIANCE V. SOLIS

by Art Gutman Ph.D., Professor, Florida Institute of Technology

On November 14th, 2011 a D.C. District Court judge dismissed a complaint by United Space Alliance that OFCCP violated its 4th amendment and other rights by requesting detailed employee compensation data without reason. We reviewed this case in March when it was before an Administrative Law Judge. This is a rare case in that United Space Alliance escalated the issue of contention above an Administrative Law Judge ruling in the agency’s favor and made a complaint to federal district court. This time a District Court Judge ruled in favor of DOL and OFCCP, concluding that the agency has broad investigative authority over federal contractors that are audited. Stay tuned for a more detailed post that deconstructs the ruling into important implications for federal contractors. In the meantime, the concluding paragraph of the ruling summarizes Judge Lamberth’s opinion nicely:

Despite the vigor with which United Space has litigated it, there is surprisingly little at stake in this case. The Department of Labor has not accused United Space of employment discrimination. It has not ordered United Space to permit agency investigators onto company premises. The Department has merely required United Space to submit data about its employee compensation. The Court understands that United Space and the entire community of federal contractors are keenly interested in how OFCCP decides whether to request additional data on a contractor's compensation practices, but that interest does not allow those companies or this Court to interfere with the agency's investigatory practices. Submission to such lawful investigations is the price of working as a federal contractor.

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