How the Government Shutdown is Affecting HR Departments

From E-Verify to EEOC claims, the shutdown is quickly complicating matters for employers.
By: | January 8, 2019 • 2 min read
government shutdown

The federal government went into a partial shutdown on Dec. 22 and there’s still no end in sight to what is now the second-longest shutdown in history.

As the New York Times reports, the shutdown’s effects are beginning to reverberate throughout sections of the American business community as far afield as Wall Street investors and craft brewers.

Even E-Verify is down.

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The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees E-Verify, issued the following statement about its policies during the shutdown: “We understand that E-Verify’s unavailability may have a significant impact on employer operations. To minimize the burden on both employers and employees, the following policies have been implemented:

  • The “three-day rule” for creating E-Verify cases is suspended for cases affected by the unavailability of E-Verify.
  • The time period during which employees may resolve tentative nonconfirmations (TNCs) will be extended. The number of days E-Verify is not available will not count toward the days the employee has to begin the process of resolving their TNCs.
  • We will provide additional guidance regarding “three-day rule” and time period to resolve TNCs deadlines once operations resume.
  • Employers may not take adverse action against an employee because the E-Verify case is in an interim case status, including while the employee’s case is in an extended interim case status due to the unavailability of E-Verify.
  • Federal contractors with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause should contact their contracting officer to inquire about extending federal contractor deadlines.

The Fisher Phillips law firm notes in a brief how an underfunded Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will also be shuttered during the shutdown:

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“The minibus funding package signed into law a few months ago did not include any funding for the civil rights agency. According to its contingency plan released last month, its workforce of over 2,000 employees has been dramatically scaled back to only 103 staffers—some of whom would be working on a part-time basis. Because of this, only a limited number of EEOC services are currently available.”

HR leaders who may have questions about pending or closed charges will be unable to receive information during this blackout period:

“All mediations and hearings scheduled to take place during the shutdown have been cancelled, and any litigation directly involving the EEOC as a party is suspended unless the relevant court does not grant a requested continuance.”

Web Editor Michael J. O’Brien has been with HRE for more than a decade and holds a degree in economics from Boston College. He can be reached at [email protected]