A federal district court ruled recently that a federal contractor must disclose to the plaintiff documents containing the legal conclusions and opinions of the company’s attorney as to why the plaintiff was not selected for an engineering position because the company waived the protections of the attorney work-product doctrine by previously providing the documents to the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) during a complaint investigation.
While this was a lower federal court ruling, and therefore has no precedential value and is subject to appeal, the decision by a federal trial judge in Mir v. L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, L.P., No. 3:15-cv-2766-B (N.D. Tex., July 22, 2016), is of interest given that the documents in question involved submissions to OFCCP.
More specifically, the Northern District of Texas ruled that a position statement and other documents that were otherwise protected under the attorney work-product doctrine must be turned over to the plaintiff during the discovery process related to his subsequent lawsuit.
The case serves as a reminder that while OFCCP regulations generally prohibit the agency from disclosing company documents received during a compliance evaluation or complaint investigation, those same documents and submissions still may be subject to disclosure during the discovery phases of a subsequent lawsuit, as happened here. The plaintiff sued after OFCCP found insufficient evidence to conclude that L-3 violated Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and denied his Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the documents.
Members of the Equal Employment Advisory Council (EEAC) can read more here.