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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Some federal workers sue over government shutdown

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More fallout from the shutdown.
More fallout from the shutdown.

Some federal employees are suing Uncle Sam, saying the government shutdown in October violated labor laws and created unnecessary hardships from “reckless disregard.”

The lawsuit, filed in Washington by five federal workers required to work without pay, claims the actions violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The five employee work for the federal Bureau of Prisons but Heidi Burakiewicz, a lowyer with the firm of Mehri and Skalet in Washington, predicts “many more” federal workers will join what may become a class action lawsuit.

Burakiewicz said the five were not among the “elite” group of highly paid federal workers and were forced to defer payments on bills and struggle during the shutdown.

The employees were classified “excepted,” which meant they worked during the 16-day shutdown but were not paid during the period.  Even though they were later compensated, the checks they received did not include overtime compensation, which added up because of extra work required in the shutdown period.

Said the lawsuit: “The violation was willful, and in conscious or reckless disregard of the requirements (of the law).”

The government has not yet responded.

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