The partial government shutdown has lasted almost 30 days now and let’s be honest, it is a difficult time to be a federal employee. Whether you’re being forced to work without pay, or on furlough with no pay, it’s a tough time. Seemingly every day there is a new story regarding federal employees—unions suing the government or federal employees being ordered to work without pay. It may have you thinking if there’s anything else.
The National Treasury Employees Union filed a lawsuit against the government alleging the federal statute allowing some federal employees to be required to work without pay during the shutdown is unconstitutional.
“If employees are working, they must be paid—and if there is no money to pay them, then they should not be working,” NTEU National President Tony Reardon said.
One example the lawsuit points to is employees at the Internal Revenue Service. NTEU says these employees’ jobs involve “the regular functions of government unrelated to protecting human life.” IRS is recalling thousands of workers to work in the preparation for the upcoming tax filing season.
“While a case can certainly be made that some federal employees, such as Customs and Border Patrol Officers and others, are protecting human life and property, that line of reasoning gets quite shaky when applied to thousands of IRS employees being called back in order to process tax refunds—and to do so without being paid,” Reardon said. “That is not how the law works, and that is not how this country should work.”
Here are a few of the most popular stories about this:
Politico (1/15, Mintz, Gurciullo, 4.04M) reports that, according to Professional Aviation Safety Specialists Vice President Michael Gonzales, approximately 1,500 inspectors had returned to work as of today. Gonzales said, “The FAA Flight Standards Service has developed an aggressive plan to bring key components of our safety inspector work online, with an initial recall of all principle safety inspectors through next week.”
Bloomberg News (1/15, Dlouhy, 5.74M) reports that the Administration has “ordered thousands of furloughed federal employees back to work without pay to inspect planes, issue tax refunds, monitor food safety and facilitate the sale of offshore oil drilling rights.” The efforts, Bloomberg News says, show how President Trump is “trying to limit the impact of the partial government shutdown and shield favored industries” as the impacts of the shutdown spread across the country. Critics, however, say the Administration is “skirting federal law by continuing some functions” amid the shutdown.
The Washington Post (1/15, Marimow, 13.51M) reports US District Judge Richard J. Leon on Tuesday “refused to force the government to pay federal employees who have been working without compensation during the partial government shutdown, rejecting arguments from labor unions that unpaid work violates labor laws and the Constitution.” The judge “ruled against a consolidated claim that the National Treasury Employees Union and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association filed against the government, alleging that employees should not be forced to work without pay.” The Washington Free Beacon (1/15, McMorris, 58K) reports Judge Leon “said the motion could throw the political process into ‘disarray’ even as he acknowledged that workers ‘are not the ones at fault.’”
None of us really knows when this shutdown will end. It could be a few days, or it could be a few months from now. Many of you may be working through an injury or illness, and have been for some time now, that prevents you from performing your essential job duties. If this describes you, the time could be right for you to start the process of applying for this benefit. If you would like to learn more about this and how Harris Federal Law Firm may be able to help you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Call us at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY form to schedule your FREE consultation.