justice scales on a table

Union: Damage suit deadline for those hit by 2018 shutdown

The federal government, right now, feels to many stuck in a suspended state—as the span between Election Day and Inauguration Day is one of conflict, not graceful forward movement.

Just two years ago, some of the same polarized views among our elected leaders brought about the longest federal spending impasse in history—the 2018-2019 government shutdown. The shutdown lasted from Dec. 22, 2018 to Jan. 25, 2019, 35 days of deep disruption to Americans seeking government services and feds relying on their jobs for timely pay.

This week, the lawyers representing many feds adversely affected by the shutdown have issued a warning: If you think you might qualify for compensation—and that generally means those who were forced to work without pay—then you must apply to join the lawsuit by Nov. 20, 2020.

That’s the deadline to be part of the suit filed by the American Federation of Government Employees, through the law firm Kalijarvi, Chuzi, Newman & Fitch, to sue for damages in this suit on the grounds federal employers violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

“You must fill out and submit the form on the case website to join the case and be eligible to receive damages,” the firm’s website for the suit states. “Unlike traditional class actions where people are automatically included, you must sign up to be part of a case alleging a violation of the [FLSA].”

The firm is pursuing the suit on a contingency basis, and there is no cost to feds to join.

There’s ample reason for hope, according to the firm—and a recent precedent for the legal route being taken. For example, after the 2013 federal government shutdown, a federal judge found “that the government violated the FLSA and [owed] liquidated damages to federal employees.”

AFGE also posted on the lawsuit deadline, here.

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