An EEOC or MSPB Motion for Stay is made by one party (sometimes both parties in a joint motion) in an EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) or MSPB (Merit Systems Protection Board) case to temporarily halt the proceedings of the case, citing a specific basis establishing “good cause”. Such motions typically come, if at all, very late in the process as hearing preparation has begun, usually during or shortly after discovery. In a federal administrative cases, a motion for a stay is sometimes filed by a Complainant to delay the case because they are medically incapacitated or are experiencing significant personal issues. Agencies may sometimes file for a stay because assigned legal counsel may be experiencing similar issues. In some instances, the filing party may be asked to provide evidence in support of the cited need. Either party may file an objection to an EEOC or MSPB Motion for Stay or, alternatively, join the Motion for Stay in support.
According to the U.S. EEOC at Management Directive 110 Chapter 7, the decision to grant a motion for a stay is at the sole discretion of the assigned Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). It is important to realize that ALJ’s have extremely broad discretion to grant or deny such requests. Similarly, the MSPB Judge’s Handbook parallels the EEOC authority.
It’s important to note that a motion for a stay is not a guarantee proceedings will be halted. The ALJ may deny the motion, in which case the case will proceed as previously scheduled. Once a Motion for a Stay is denied, further appeal will generally not result in a change of the Judge’s decision unless there are significant changes to the specified basis for the need. A request for additional stays are not necessarily handicapped by a previously granted request.
Finally, it has been our collective experience that motions for a stay are not that common.
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