NTEU Lawsuit Alleges Shutdown Violates Fair Labor Standards Act

Press Release January 7, 2019

Washington D.C. – The National Treasury Employees Union filed a lawsuit Monday alleging the administration is violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by requiring federal employees to work without pay during the partial government shutdown.

The complaint was filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on behalf of thousands of federal employees who are required to work even though their agencies have not received appropriations from Congress.

“It is unconscionable that many employees are having to work – and in some cases overtime – with no pay whatsoever,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon.

The FLSA requires that all employees covered by the statute be paid on time for any overtime work performed and also be paid at least the minimum wage for all hours worked during the workweek.

Since 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 22, 2018, Customs and Border Protection employees and others exempted from the shutdown have reported for duty and served their country by providing vital services to taxpayers.

“These civil servants took an oath to the Constitution and they do not deserve to be treated this way,” Reardon said.

NTEU’s lawsuit anticipates that the financial harm to these employees will continue to escalate as the shutdown drags into its third full week.

NTEU is asking the court to order compensation for these employees as well as 100 percent matching liquidated damages.

“NTEU will continue to fight in the courts and on Capitol Hill to end the shutdown and ensure that all employees are fairly compensated,” Reardon said.

NTEU-represented agencies affected by the lapse in appropriations include: IRS, Customs and Border Protection, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Communications Commission, Food and Drug Administration, Federal Election Commission, National Park Service, Patent and Trademark Office, Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments.