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Feb
2014
12

“Essential Employees” Seek Liquidated Damages, Class Action Status in Suit Stemming from Govt Shutdown Paychecks

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When the government shut down in October, many employees still had to go to work knowing they wouldn’t be getting a regular paycheck.  Now, many of those employees have joined a lawsuit against the government seeking liquidated damages.  The workers were paid during the shutdown, but the payments may not have followed labor law.  The lawsuit claims that workers labeled as “essential employees” are owed back pay.

From In The Capital:

This past week, over 1,000 federal employees joined a lawsuit against the government seeking “liquidated damages.” Filed initially in October by five employees at the Bureau of Prisons, the lawsuit is claiming that “essential employees” – basically those that had to work through the shutdown despite not being payed until later – are legally entitled to some back pay.

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that workers are paid at least minimum wage and overtime during their regularly scheduled pay period. Since federal employees weren’t paid until after the shutdown ended on October 16th, this lawsuit is claiming their rights were violated and they are therefore eligible for further compensation.

Along with the lawsuit is a request with U.S. Court of Federal Claims to allow the case to become a class action lawsuit.  If the request is granted, all 1.3 million “essential” employees would be eligible to receive a monetary settlement should the case go their way.

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