NTEU and FLSA
In January 2019, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), along with lawyers from the private law firm of Bredhoff & Kaiser, PLLC, filed a lawsuit alleging the administration violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by requiring federal employees to work without pay during the partial government shutdown.
The complaint, as amended, was filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on behalf of the tens of thousands of federal employees in NTEU-represented bargaining units who were required to work, even though their agencies had not received appropriations from Congress.
More than 18,000 employees joined this lawsuit.
The FLSA requires that all employees covered by the statute be paid on time for any overtime work performed and be paid at least the minimum wage on time for all hours worked during the workweek.
Legislation was enacted guaranteeing that employees affected by the 2018-19 shutdown were paid. In its lawsuit, NTEU asked the Court to order payment of 100 percent liquidated damages to match the amount of any overtime or minimum wages that were not paid on time. The FLSA provides for liquidated damages as a means of compensating employees for the untimely payment of overtime or wages.
After years of litigation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, unfortunately, has ruled that employees paid late during shutdowns cannot recover damages under the FLSA. A petition for certiorari was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court which declined to review the decision. NTEU is very disappointed in these rulings.
You may also be interested in reading the Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to commonly asked questions.
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