It’s sometimes easy to forget that the government shutdown has very real-world implications. Case in point? The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
As of now, it’s closed. The agency has even posted a notice about it on its’ website.
That doesn’t mean that the time limits for filing a charge have been extended. Generally, federal claims must be filed within 300 days of the alleged discrimination. As noted by the EEOC, “These time limits may not be extended because of the shut-down.”
The EEOC thus encourages employees considering filing claims “within 30 days of your time expiring” or unsure “your time expires”, to not wait to file.
For employers with matters at the EEOC, mediations have been cancelled. It is unclear from the shutdown notice whether the EEOC will continue to press the time frames for submitting position statements, but given the lack of action on anything pressing, the agency would certainly seem amenable to having those deadlines extended.
Employers with specific questions though should certainly check with their counsel to see if their particular case warrants action.
The bottom line is that the backlog that existed at the EEOC will continue to grow because of this delay; mediations are going to get rescheduled and action is just going to take longer.
Stating the obvious: The longer the shutdown, the longer the delays.