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:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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