The unfortunate news of last week – the federal government shutdown – continues and the operating status of the government remains unpredictable.  Contingency plans for all federal government agencies are available here .  This post summarizes the current plans of some key labor and employment agencies, and the federal courts, during the government closure.

 United States Citizen and Immigrations Services

 E-Verify has been shut down and while it is unavailable, employers will not be able to access their E-Verify account. The “three-day rule” for E-Verify cases is therefore suspended for cases affected by the shutdown. This does not affect the Form I-9 requirement—employers must still complete the Form I-9 no later than the third business day after an employee starts work for pay. 

Employers may not take any adverse action against an employee because of an E-Verify interim case status, including while the employee’s case is in an extended interim case status due to a federal government shutdown. 

Manufacturers attempting to use e-verify should go to the e-verify website where guidance should be forthcoming:

National Labor Relations Board:  The majority of agency functions will cease during the shutdown. 

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:  The agency will permit the filing of new charges during the shutdown and litigation will continue if judges do not grant continuances.  The EEOC will not investigate charges, file new lawsuits, conduct mediations or process FOIA requests during the shutdown.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration: OSHA will temporarily cease all operations except in emergency situations, considered to be those which “present a high risk of death or serious physical harm.” In addition, an alert on their website notifies visitors that “Due to suspension of Federal government services, this website is not being regularly monitored.  If you need to report a workplace fatality, hospitalizations, or an imminent danger situation please contact our toll free number immediately: 1-800-321-OSHA (6742); TTY 1-877-889-5627.” 

Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division

This division will cease operations during the shutdown. 

Federal Courts

According to a Department of Justice memo, “the federal courts may be open during the government shutdown, but it’s far from ‘business as usual.’”

The federal court system has indicated that it has sufficient carry-over resources to remain open after October 1 for approximately 10 days.  However, if the government remains shutdown as of October 15, the court system will issue new guidance that will likely prioritize cases meeting the essentiality test for continued work during a shutdown, while also ensuring basic functionality in the offices of the clerks of court.  Federal court filing deadlines are still in effect.

Beyond these contingency plans, the impact of this shutdown is far-reaching, as Pam posted last week.  Please feel free to post comments and/or reach out to Pam, Jeff or me on how the shutdown may be impacting your business.