Judge Blocks Persuader Rule Requiring Firms to Disclose Labor Advice
November 18, 2016
On November 17, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a permanent injunction against the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) persuader rule in the case brought by several business organizations. In his decision to block the rule, the Judge wrote that the plaintiffs had demonstrated the rule will “cause irreparable harms” by “reducing access to full, complete, unconflicted legal advice . . . reducing access to training, seminars, information, and other advice relating to unionization campaigns . . . [and] burdening and chilling First Amendment rights.”
The rule, which took effect in April 2016, made significant changes to the reporting and disclosure requirements for employers, attorneys, and other experts under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. It would have effectively made all interactions between employers and their labor counsel reportable, limiting employer access to counsel and therefore making it easier for employers to violate labor laws. AFS has opposed the persuader rule since it was first proposed in 2011 and expressed its concerns that the rule would negatively affect attorney-client privilege through a comment letter and meetings with DOL officials. The Labor Department may appeal the decision.
AFS will keep members posted on any new developments.