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While thousands of federal employees are currently furloughed during the government shutdown, the shutdown also has some practical consequences for private employers:

  • The Equal Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”)and the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), each of which handle various types of labor and employment investigations are essentially closed for business, meaning all investigations and hearings are suspended.  For example, the EEOC will not conduct investigations, mediate charges of discrimination or even have staff available to field phone calls.
  • E-Verify, which is used by thousands of employers to check the immigration status of new employees, is offline.  Nevertheless, employers must still complete traditional I-9 forms for new employees.
  • Businesses cannot close on government-backed Small Business Administration (“SBA”) loans since such loans are not currently being processed.

Private employers may suffer some inconveniences as a result of the government shutdown.  Generally speaking, if an employer has an active matter with any federal agency that governs some aspect of labor or employment law, that matter will likely be on hold.  However, the laws enforced by those agencies are obviously still in effect.