Hundreds Who Worked During Shutdown Join Lawsuit Against Government

Thinkstock

Hundreds of federal employees have signed on to a lawsuit against the federal government, seeking damages that resulted from not receiving pay on time during the shutdown.

Five Bureau of Prisons employees originally filed the suit, alleging the government violated the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act when it delayed full pay for employees forced to work during the shutdown until agencies reopened Oct. 17. Less than a week after the suit was filed, more than 500 workers have signed on to join it, according to the law firm representing the employees.

Under a provision of the FLSA, employees cannot file a class action lawsuit that automatically distributes any compensation awarded by the court to all employees in the same class. Instead, the employees must affirmatively opt in to the case.

While the number of employees signed on to the case will not affect its legal standing, Michael Lieder -- an attorney with Mehri and Skalet, the firm representing the federal employees -- was pleased to see more plaintiffs join, as “with each person joining the amount of benefits the case can generate increases.”

Lieder said a majority of the employees who have signed on are from the Bureau of Prisons, but his firm is beginning to receive applications from “a number of other agencies.” Many more shutdown-excepted feds could still add their names to the case, as Mehri and Skalet plan to file a motion that a notice be sent to all 1.3 million federal employees who worked during the shutdown, explaining their eligibility to join the lawsuit.

Judges typically allow these notices in FLSA cases, Lieder said.

Plaintiffs are seeking compensation of $7.25 times the number of hours worked between Oct. 1 and Oct. 5, the period in which paychecks were delayed. This amounts to $290 for employees who worked 8-hour days, plus any overtime they are due. Unlike furloughed workers, employees who reported to work during the shutdown were guaranteed retroactive pay. However, the plaintiffs in Martin et. al. v. The United States argue because the excepted workers faced hardships during the shutdown, such as an inability to pay bills on time, they should receive extra compensation.

The federal claims court judge has put a stay on the case, but Lieder said his firm will soon ask the judge to lift it, at which point he expects the suit to move relatively quickly. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.