Practice Areas

Industry Experience

Mr. Bouquet’s work in the field of government contracts has involved many types of products and services in a wide range of industries.

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Reflections on Government Contracts

Vol. XIII, No. 1

Fall 2021

New Contract Clause Imposes COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate

On October 1, 2021, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (the “FAR Council”) issued a new contract clause that will require contractors to implement certain “workplace safety protocols” against COVID-19 infections. A central requirement of the clause is that contractors must “ensure that all covered contractor employees are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, unless the employee is legally entitled to an accommodation.” The clause defines the term “covered contractor employees” broadly to include all part-time and full-time employees who (i) work on or in connection with a contract that includes the clause (“Contract Personnel”), regardless of where they work; or (ii) at any contractor facility at which any Contract Personnel are likely to be present during the term of the contract. There is no exception for employees who have previously had COVID-19. To comply with the new clause, contractors will have to require covered employees to show proof that they are fully vaccinated, review the proof, and confirm that employees are fully vaccinated. Many contractors are concerned about the significant burdens of the new clause. Many also question how they should implement the “accommodation” (i.e., an exemption) of employees who communicate that they are not vaccinated “because of a disability (which would include medical conditions) or because of a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance.” This article aims to help contractors understand these burdens and proposes some common-sense approaches for administration of the accommodations.

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How to Fight Unfair Treatment by Contracting Officers

The Federal Acquisition Regulation requires federal Contracting Officers (“COs”) to “ensure that contractors receive impartial, fair and equitable treatment.” This requirement is fundamental to our procurement system. COs have vast powers to make determinations and findings that can adversely affect the finances of contractors. When COs treat contractors unfairly, the private sector tends to lose faith in the government as a customer. As a result, excellent companies will stop offering needed products and services to the government or will include in the price of their government contracts appropriate contingencies to account for the risks and costs of such inequities. In either case, the taxpayers lose. In my twenty-five years of practicing government contracts law, I have encountered some COs who, with the support of agency lawyers, will take the time to focus on disputed issues and partner with my clients to develop a fair solution that is in the long-term best interests of the taxpayers and the contractor. However, in too many cases, I have seen COs who do not take this approach. Fortunately, there are a number of ways contractors can fight and even prevent unfair treatment by COs

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Chris Bouquet is an experienced businessman and government contracts lawyer. After college, he spent 11 years as a businessman, first serving as Assistant to the President of a company in Salem, Virginia and later as a Project Manager and Director of Government Operations for a government contractor in McLean, Virginia. While serving as a government contractor, he attended night school and received MBA and JD degrees. After law school, he served for nearly 14 years as a government contracts lawyer in McKenna Long & Aldridge's (MLA’s) Washington, DC office and as a pro bono lawyer for the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. In 2008, he opened his own law practice in Alexandria, Virginia, so that he could be closer to home, church and community and offer existing and new clients more cost effective access to his expertise. Throughout Mr. Bouquet’s career, he has been devoted to understanding his clients’ needs and providing leadership to develop and implement effective strategies to meet these needs.

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