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EEOC seeks to stay litigation amid government shutdown

A federal agency is asking the U.S. District Court to stay several pending cases in Maryland because of the partial federal government shutdown.

According to several online court records in at least four lawsuits filed in federal court in the state by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency is asking federal judges in Maryland to stay pending litigation during the shutdown and extend all deadlines that occur during the shutdown.

Today is the first full business day after several government departments and agencies closed over the weekend after President Donald Trump and Congress failed to make a deal on the federal budget.

The EEOC’s job is to enforce the federal government’s employment discrimination laws. It is subject to the federal Antideficiency Act, which prohibits federal employees from spending money or authorizing expenses beyond the amount appropriated, except for emergencies, according to a motion to stay filed in the case U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.

“Because of the lapse in appropriations of Federal Government funding and the requirements of the Antideficiency Act, EEOC lawyers and legal support staff are prohibited from engaging in litigation activities as of midnight on December 21, 2018,” the filing states.

The EEOC was allowed a four-hour “wind down” period today.

Defense counsel in these cases do not oppose the EEOC motion, the filings state.

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