Federal employees who are working without pay are considering their legal options. A Seattle employment attorney says they might have a case to sue the government.
“People are concerned, they’re reaching out for information,” said Jason Rittereiser, an attorney with HKM Employment Attorneys.
Rewind to 2013 when large parts of the government closed for 16 days amid a dispute over Obamacare.
Thousands of employees, who still had to show up for work, had their paychecks delayed.
A group of workers sued the federal government under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which entitles them to damages if they are not paid on time.
A federal judge last year ordered double pay for the 25,000 workers who sued.
“I think it sets the stage for other challenges against the federal government for those employees who are being forced to work without their pay,” Rittereiser said.
He says there's also a state law which might help unpaid federal workers.
“The Minimum Wage Act in Washington State says that every employee must be paid for every minute that they work in the State of Washington and they must be paid on time,” he said.
Rittereiser and his team are still trying to sort out their legal options. Federal workers in other states have already filed lawsuits, but don't expect a swift resolution. The workers who sued in 2013 are still waiting for their money.
HKM Employment Attorneys is holding an informational conference call for federal workers on Thursday to answer questions and provide resources for employees who are about to miss another paycheck.