Contributed by Suzanne Newcomb, November 16, 2016
A Texas federal judge today, November 16, 2016, struck down the U.S. Department of Labor’s controversial “Persuader Rule” finding it unlawful. The decision made permanent, and gave nationwide effect to, the court’s earlier temporary injunction blocking enforcement of the Rule. As we reported back in March and again in June, the Persuader Rule would have essentially gutted the “Advice Exception” to the federal Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act by requiring employers and labor relations consultants, including attorneys, to submit detailed reports including the type of consulting or legal services provided and any fees paid. While the injunction issued today is “permanent,” the decision is appealable. Whether the DOL will seek to appeal the decision remains to be seen (and might be unlikely in light of the new administration).
A Texas federal judge today, June 27, 2016, entered a nationwide injunction barring the U.S. Department of Labor from enforcing its Persuader Rule. HOWEVER, because nothing is certain, SmithAmundsen encourages all employers to speak with its outside counsel on securing Legal Representation Agreements before July, 1st to help combat and further protect its long term interests as explained in our June 24, 2016 Blog Update.
Contributed by Jeff Risch, June 24, 2016
On July 1 (one week from today), the U.S. Department of Labor’s Persuader Rule goes into effect. The rule requires employers and labor consultants (including attorneys) to publicly report all actions, conduct, or communications that have a direct or indirect objective to persuade employees regarding their rights to collective bargaining, to obtain certain information concerning employee activities, or to persuade employees as to their rights to join or not join a union – which can include mere advice and counsel from attorneys (e.g., supervisor training, handbook drafting, work rules, etc.). The USDOL has recently indicated that indirect persuader and consulting service agreements entered into before July 1, 2016 will be exempt from the new rule – even if the services are rendered at a later time. Accordingly, we strongly encourage employers who currently receive indirect persuasion or labor advice (or who may need it in the future), to contact their outside attorneys before June 30th.
Although we cannot predict future enforcement initiatives by the DOL, at this time, we believe that this type of pre-July 1, 2016 Agreement can only help.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this rule, please do not hesitate to contact your primary SmithAmundsen attorney.