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Private Employers Impacted by Partial Government Shutdown  

            The partial government shutdown, which began December 22, 2018 and has caused hundreds of thousands of federal workers to stop working or work without pay,FN1 has begun to affect private employers who are not government contractors,FN2 and employees of such companies, in the following ways:

1.               Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) enforcement actions on hold: Although the partial shutdown will not immediately affect most federal lawsuits because the United States court system has sufficient resources to operate through January 11, 2018,FN3 enforcement actions brought by the EEOC will be stayed until the President and Congress move past their impasse.FN4 This means there will be a pause in EEOC-led discrimination, harassment, and retaliation lawsuits. Similarly, lawsuits in which the U.S. Department of Justice is a party will be stayed.

2.               EEOC charge deadlines remain in place: The EEOC is closed during the shutdown and no action will be taken on pending EEOC charges. However, employees are still required to file charges within 300 days (or 180 days for the few states without a state fair employment practice agency) after an alleged discriminatory adverse action.

3.               Wage-and-hour, workplace safety, and labor relations matters are not affected: U.S. Department of Labor wage-and-hour investigations, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) workplace safety matters, and labor relations matters handled by the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) such as the investigation and processing of unfair labor practice charges and representation hearings and elections—are not affected by the partial government shutdown at this time.FN5

Employers are encouraged to contact an attorney with Campbell Litigation with any questions.

Footnotes:

FN1:   Kevin Breuninger, Here’s who the partial government shutdown affects, CNBC Politics (Dec. 21, 2018),  https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/21/what-happens-if-government-shuts-down.html      

FN2:   As a result of the partial shutdown, many government contractors were sent home without the ability to work remotely; some contactors will continue to work, uncertain about whether they will be reimbursed by their companies. See Lisa Rein, Damian Paletta and Brady Dennis, With spending bill stalled, federal agencies prepare to cease operations at midnight Friday, The Washington Post (December 20, 2018), https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/with-spending-bill-stalled-federal-agencies-prepare-to-cease-operations-at-midnight-friday/2018/12/20/6659b0c4-04a4-11e9-9122-82e98f91ee6f_story.html. See also Aaron Gregg, For Government Contractors, Shutdown Makes for an Uncertain Holiday Break, Washington Post (Dec. 22, 2018), https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/12/22/government-contractors-shutdown-makes-an-uncertain-holiday-break/?utm_term=.c17519919dee

FN3:   Tim Ryan, Courts Have Plan to Power Through Shutdown, for Now, Courthouse News Service (Dec. 24, 2018), https://www.courthousenews.com/courts-have-plan-to-power-through-shutdown-for-now/

FN4:   See EEOC Shutdown Notice (Accessed Dec. 27, 2018), https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/shutdown_notice.cfm

FN5:   Appropriations bills passed earlier in 2018 prevent the government shutdown from affecting the DOL’s wage and hour division, OSHA, the NLRB, and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. See Fred Hosier, OSHA to remain open during partial government shutdown, Safety News Alert (Dec. 21, 2018), www.safetynewsalert.com/osha-to-remain-open-during-partial-government-shutdown/; Advisory Board, Congress just passed its 2019 HHS spending bill. Here’s what made the cut. (Sep. 27, 2018), https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2018/09/27/spending; Brett Mattson, Short-term extension keeps federal government funded as Congress works on FY 2019 appropriations, National Association of Counties (Oct. 2, 2018), https://www.naco.org/blog/short-term-extension-keeps-federal-government-funded-congress-works-fy-2019-appropriations; see Fred Hosier, OSHA to remain open during partial government shutdown, Safety News Alert (Dec. 21, 2018), www.safetynewsalert.com/osha-to-remain-open-during-partial-government-shutdown/