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  • Question

    How exactly does a contractor proceed in this scenario, other than find another job? Who do I report these violations of COR authority to? Would it be appropriate for me to approach the KO, or even EEO or OGC of this agency? What protection must my contract company provide for me (based in Virginia)? Thanks!


    Answer

    This sounds like an unfortunate situation. Often cases like this contain many more unknown facts and have two sides to the story.  But for answer purposes, we’ll assume the situation you described is exactly how it happened.
     
    First, the government (meaning the contracting officer, COR or anyone part of the acquisition team) has no authority to direct a contractor to fire one of their employees.  The contracting officer may direct a contractor to remove an employee from performing on a contract.  But they should have clear grounds when making this demand; see FAR 1.602-2(b).
     
    A COR has absolutely NO authority to direct a contractor remove an employee from the contract, this would technically be a change to the contract and a COR NEVER, let’s repeat “NEVER” for emphasis, has the authority to change contract terms and conditions.  Furthermore, if the COR is in fact acting in the manner you describe… at the very least this can be described as “overzealous inspection” and could be the basis for a constructive change.  I’d be willing to bet the government contracting officer would want to know about this situation.  Again, caveating this with the assumption the situation is exactly as you describe.
     
    If your company decides to remove you from the contract or worse, then that is strictly between you and your company.  Your employment contract is with your company and not the government.  We have no idea what internal company policies, procedures, or processes your company has for employees, perhaps you could contact your HR representatives.
     
    Finally, it disturbs us to think contractor/company leadership would not address this situation with the Contracting Officer.  Hopefully your leadership understands that performing work outside the scope of the contract is prohibited and not advisable.  At the very least, it could hurt the company’s bottom line and could prevent them from seeking future requests for equitable adjustment in the event that one day they decide “enough-is-enough”.
     
    Other avenues to lodge a complaint include the fraud, waste and abuse hotline or agency Inspector General Offices.  Depending on the situation; there are also federal whistle blower protections.


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