Government Shutdown Lawsuit Moving Forward

By George Khoury, Esq. on January 31, 2019 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The government shutdown may be over temporarily, but the lawsuit over whether the federal government can require employees to work without being paid doesn't seem to be ending any time soon.

The motion for a temporary restraining order was denied, but the case is still moving forward. The judge explained that the TRO could cause "chaos." Notably, this is not the first case of its kind. In fact, the same court, and same judge, heard nearly this exact same case in 2013. The lawyers for the plaintiffs explained that the TRO motion was withdrawn, but could be renewed if the government is shutdown again.

Feds on the Wrong Side of the FLSA

According to Forbes contributor Charles Tiefer, this time, the plaintiffs are likely to win big. He attributes it to the perfect storm of solid precedent, a familiar judge who ruled favorably on the matter before, and not to mention the widespread public outcry over the shutdown.

In the litigation stemming from the 2013 shutdown lawsuit, the court followed precedent and affirmatively ruled that federal employees were covered by the FLSA. Additionally, it explained that the Anti-Deficiency Act, which the feds had tried to use as a defense as it prohibits paying officials during a shutdown, only applied to government officials and not citizen employees.

Back Pay and Back to Work

While federal employees are getting back pay and getting back to work with the shutdown temporarily over, the lawsuit will hopefully help prevent federal employees from going without pay, should another shutdown occur.

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