The Washington Post

Labor Dept. okays earthquake-related absences

An angel, dislodged from the southwest pinnacle of the "Gloria in Excelsis," or central tower, sits on the roof of The Washington National Cathedral following Tuesday's earthquake in Washington. (Nikki Kahn/Washington Post)

The department apologized to workers Tuesday for confusion over whether or not its headquarters in Washington was open Wednesday.

The Office of Personnel Management announced early Wednesday that the building would be closed for a building inspection, but department officials said later in the morning that the building would open as normal. Many workers did not come to work because they saw the earlier message.

“The incorrect information announced by OPM stemmed from a miscommunication that occurred completely outside of the Department,” Labor Department Deputy Secretary Seth Harris said in an e-mail to workers Wednesday afternoon. “As soon as we became aware of the error this morning, we worked as swiftly as possible to correct it and let everyone know the building was open for normal operations.”

“We apologize for any confusion or inconvenience caused by the false reports,” Harris wrote. “As such, DOL employees will not lose leave as a result of absences caused by [Tuesday’s] earthquake and [Wednesday] morning’s miscommunication.”

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Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.

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