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It’s the final countdown: How the government shutdown affects labor and employment law

Category: General HR

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In case you haven’t heard, as of 12:01 a.m. this morning, thefederal government is closed. Your business will feel this shutdown in many ways, including in your interactions with the federal agencies that enforce the various labor and employment laws. Each has posted on its website a contingency plan for operations during the shutdown.

For example, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:

  1. Will accept and docket new charges, and examine if immediate injunctive relief is necessary.
  2. Will not conduct any investigations.
  3. Will not mediate any charges.
  4. Will not have staff available to answer questions or respond to correspondence.
  5. Will not litigate, unless a court denies a request for extension of time.
  6. Will not process any FOIA requests.

The Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board have each posted their own detailed shutdown plans. The bottom line, however, is that except for services that are absolutely essential, federal agencies will be closed until Congress works out its financial issues.

Federal courts, meanwhile, will remain open for business as usual for at least 10 business days, after which the Judiciary will reassess the situation.

Other federal services impacting employers that will be temporarily shuttered include e-Verify and the IRS.

While it difficult to predict how long this shutdown will last. The last shutdown of the federal government, spanning the end of 1995 to the beginning of 1996, lasted 28 days.

For now, if you have active matters with any federal agencies, expect for them to be on hold. Please remember is that while the EEOC and other agencies might be temporarily out of business, the laws that they enforce are not.


Jon Hyman joined Cleveland-based Kohrman Jackson & Krantz in 2006. Prior to joining KJK, Jon developed nearly a decade of experience in innumerable litigation matters. He primarily concentrates his practice in the representation of companies in employment disputes, including litigation with terminated employees and disputes over trade secrets and non-competition agreements. He supplements his employment practice with complex commercial matters, such as fiduciary and shareholder litigation. His representation extends beyond the courtroom, into various state and federal administrative agencies.

Complementing his litigation practice, Jon also extensively advises individuals and companies on a wide-range of employment, human relations, and litigation issues. This role frequently requires Jon’s service as an author and speaker on myriad employment-related issues. In the last several years, he has written and spoken on topics ranging from social media, preventing and investigating sexual harassment, other forms of employment discrimination, the Family Medical Leave Act, wage and hour laws, and corporate document retention.

Jon is admitted to practice in the State of Ohio, in addition to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the United States District Courts for the Northern District of Ohio, Southern District of Ohio, the Northern District of Oklahoma, and Northern District of Illinois, and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

Jon is the author of the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, where he writes daily on areas of interest to employers doing business in the State of Ohio and beyond. The blog is located at You can also find Jon commenting on employment law issues on Twitter (@jonhyman) and on the Facebook Page for his blog.

Jon has also been extensively quoted in the local and national media on employment matters, including recent interviews in the Wall Street Journal, National Law Journal, Business Insurance Magazine, Crain’s Cleveland Business, Inside Counsel, and Lawyer’s USA. Jon also serves as a contributing editor to Business Management Daily, and is the editor of its HR Specialist Ohio Employment Law Newsletter.

Superlawyers named Jon an Ohio Rising Star in the area of Employment Law for 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

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