Debarment is one of the most significant penalties the government can assess a contractor. When your company is debarred, you cannot bid or work on government projects for the duration of the debarment.  Below are some questions that I am often asked when a contractor is confronted with debarment. 

What conduct can lead to a debarment?

The most common basis for a debarment is a conviction for an offense involving fraud, falsification of records, failure to pay the predetermined minimum wage, and other offenses indicating a lack of business integrity or honesty. A contractor may also be debarred if it is found guilty of violating the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729 et seq.

When should a contractor respond to a debarment notice?

A contractor must respond to a debarment notice within 30 days. If the debarment is not based on an indictment, conviction or judgment, you may be entitled to a hearing at which you can present witnesses, documents, and other evidence in support of your defense.

How should a contractor respond to a debarment notice?

Retain counsel. The road to debarment is filled with procedural difficulties that must be addressed or your right to fight the debarment may be over before you even get started.

How long does debarment last?

Debarment does not generally exceed three years. Although, there are some states that impose debarment for five years.

Debarment is serious and contractors are well advised to address the government head-on when threats of debarment are made.  And, make sure you get your debarment questions answered before you agree to anything with a governmental agency.