On October 1, 2013, the federal government entered its new fiscal year without Congressional agreement on a federal budget. The resulting government shutdown has impacted many federal agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").
The EEOC has issued a Shutdown Contingency Plan outlining how its operations will continue during this lapse of federal appropriations. Any continued EEOC operations are limited to essential services. During the shutdown, the EEOC will retain only 107 staff and contract personnel nationwide considered necessary to "protect government and individual property rights." The EEOC will continue accepting new charges of discrimination and hearing requests. However, it will evaluate and handle new charges only where the agency must seek a temporary restraining order or other form of immediate relief.
Activities not considered "essential" have been suspended, including the investigation and mediation of charges. The EEOC also will not process any Freedom of Information Act requests during the government shutdown. Litigation of cases will be suspended, except where a continuance is not granted by the court. In such a case, the assigned EEOC attorney will be exempt from the furlough only to litigate that matter. EEOC staff will not be available for questions during this time.