The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on June 27 granted a preliminary injunction that temporarily prevents the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing and enforcing its recent changes to the Persuader Rule. That rule was scheduled to take effect July 1. The injunction will be in effect until the district court issues a decision on the merits of the lawsuit or a higher court overrules the injunction if the DOL appeals it.
If the experts do not communicate directly with employees, but are simply providing "advice" to the employer about how to effectively/legally communicate with employees, this has for decades been exempt from disclosure requirements pursuant to the "advice exemption."
The final rule narrows the scope of the "advice" exemption so that far more interactions between employers and hired experts providing advice on employee or labor relations will be subject to disclosure requirements.
"Narrowing the advice exemption in this way is clearly part of an effort to make it more difficult for employers to communicate with employees about the potential consequences of unionization," said David Fialkov, NATSO's Vice President of Government Affairs. "It's part of a larger trend that we are seeing out of the Department of Labor in the final year of the Obama Administration."
Several elected officials also have introduced legislation seeking to nullify the controversial rule. Most recently, Senators Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) introduced S.J.Res. 35, a resolution that would prohibit implementation of the final persuader rule. CDW plans to send a letter of support to the Senators. CDW also supports similar legislation in the House, H.J. Res 87, introduced by Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) in April to block the Persuader Rule through the Congressional Review Act.
Shortly after the Texas court’s ruling, Rep. Byrne said, “We have repeatedly warned that the Obama Administration’s persuader rule will upend decades of labor law and disrupt attorney-client privilege rights, and today a federal judge agreed. This rule is nothing more than another attempt by this radical Department of Labor to tilt the scales of power in support of Big Labor bosses, and I am pleased the courts have blocked it.”
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