NTEU has kept us informed about a lawsuit (Martin et al. v. United States, No. 13-834, U.S. Court of Federal Claims) that may be of interest to Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)-nonexempt employees who were required to work during the October 2013 government shutdown. These employees were paid approximately two weeks late for work done during the period of October 1–5, 2013. The lawsuit seeks a remedy for that late payment.
In 2014, the Court of Federal Claims denied the government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit and ruled that the government’s late payment of wages for work performed during the shutdown violated the FLSA. That ruling set the stage for summary judgment motions on the issue of whether liquidated damages were warranted for the late payment of minimum wage and overtime earned during the shutdown.
On Monday, the Court of Federal Claims granted summary judgment to plaintiffs on the issue of liquidated damages, ordering the government to pay the individual plaintiffs an amount equal to any minimum wage or overtime pay that they earned during the shutdown but did not receive on their regularly scheduled payday. The next step in the litigation is for the parties to confer on plaintiffs’ damages calculations. The court has said this must occur by April 7. This step could be put on hold, however, if the government seeks to appeal this decision, at this point, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Details about the case, including information about how the court has, to date, defined the employees who may have a claim, can be found at http://www.shutdownlawsuit.com, a website established by the plaintiffs’ attorneys. NTEU will continue to monitor this litigation.