Daily Labor Report®

Judge Halts Shutdown Pay Dispute...Because of Shutdown

Jan. 16, 2019, 8:11 PM

A lawsuit brought by federal Bureau of Prisons workers forced to work as essential employees will be put on hold until the government shutdown ends, the Court of Federal Claims said Jan. 16.

“The court appreciates the ironic circumstance that the very subject of this case also triggers the parties’ inability to proceed with the litigation. That said, neither the court nor the attorneys at the Department of Justice has the authority to change the present circumstances,” Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith said in her order staying the lawsuit.

The Justice Department has been asking courts across the country to stay lawsuits, with varying degrees of success. The federal judiciary itself is projected to run out of money Jan. 25.

The parties are to confer and jointly file a status report as soon as possible after the shutdown ends, Campbell-Smith ordered.

Justin Tarovisky and Grayson Sharp work for the Bureau of Prisons and have been haled into work without pay during the shutdown. The U.S. is violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by not making overtime payments on scheduled pay days, they say.

Campbell-Smith struck their motion for class certification in her Jan. 16 order, calling it “premature” because she hasn’t yet ruled on whether a collective action is appropriate for their FLSA claims.

Kalijarvi, Chuzi, Newman & Fitch P.C. represents Tarovisky.

The case is Tarovisky v. U.S.A., Fed. Cl., No. 1:19-cv-4, 1/16/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Porter Wells in Washington at pwells@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com

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