Suspension and Debarment from Government Contracting
What suspension and debarment are. Suspension and debarment are legal procedures for banning a company or a person from doing business with the federal government.
- Suspension is a temporary exclusion, for a period of up to 18 months, pending the outcome of an investigation.
- Debarment is an exclusion for a fixed period, usually several years, or occasionally longer.
What it means to be suspended or debarred. Suspension or debarment by any federal agency results in suspension or debarment from the entire federal government.
While you are suspended or debarred, you cannot renew any government contracts, bid on any government contracts, or accept any new government contracts that you've already bid on. Debarment can be a "death sentence" for a business built on government contracting and it can jeopardize the livelihood of an individual by barring him or her from working for any government contractor.
Some additional things you should know about debarment.
- The issue in a debarment proceeding is whether the company or individual is presently a "responsible" government contractor.
- Debarment is a separate process from your security clearance, but it will adversely affect your clearance.
- The debarring official of a government agency acts as the judge and jury. He or she will decide the facts in your case and decide whether you will be debarred and for how long. Your only appeal is to sue in federal court, but such suits are expensive and seldom successful.
- Debarring officials take their responsibilities very seriously and hold contractors to a high standard of conduct.
- A proposed debarment can be successfully overcome by showing that there is no cause for debarment or that mitigating circumstances establish that the contractor is now "presently responsible."
You need an attorney for a debarment case. Suspension and debarment are extremely serious matters. They are not something that you can handle yourself. You need experienced counsel to assist you if:
- You have received a Notice of Proposed Suspension or Debarment, or
- Your government customer has advised you that you may be facing suspension or debarment.
McAdoo Gordon & Associates has resolved debarment cases for clients -both companies and individuals- threatened with suspension or debarment by agencies including HUD, DOD, GSA, and HHS. The firm has successfully defended clients by demonstrating that there is no cause for debarment or that mitigating factors outweigh any cause that may exist. We have negotiated administrative agreements with federal agencies to satisfy to the agency that a client-contractor is "presently responsible," thereby avoiding debarment. When a debarment cannot be completely avoided, we have successfully negotiated a shorter period of debarment for the client.
Don't risk your future or your company's future because of a proposed debarment. With the stakes this high, it's important to work with a lawyer who has experience and competence in this specialized area of law.
Learn more about the government debarment cases the attorneys at McAdoo Gordon & Associates have successfully handled.