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Earlier this week, a U.S. district court in Texas granted a preliminary injunction thereby blocking (at least for the time being) the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing and enforcing its revised "persuader rule" on a national basis. In his ruling, Judge Sam R. Cummings found that the DOL exceeded its authority in promulgating the rule, which was slated to become effective on July 1, 2016.
SHRM has been supportive of efforts to block this rule through the enactment of a congressional resolution (H. J. Res 87) introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL). A similar resolution was introduced in the Senate by Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ). When the rule first was proposed back in 2011, SHRM submitted comments with 19 state councils and 47 chapters in response to the proposed rule. In addition, 2,477 individual SHRM members submitted comments. In an effort to further strengthen our advocacy on the rule, SHRM A-Team member and SHRM Member Advisory Council member Sharon Sellers testified earlier this year in Congress regarding SHRM's concerns with the rule.
Under the persuader rule, employers and their hired consultants must report to the DOL their services when the consultants are hired to persuade employees about unionization. In the past, employers have not had to report when consultants merely provided advice to the employer and didn't interact directly with employees. The final rule changed the interpretation of advice such that most arrangements between employers and consultants on union issues would need to be reported.
The DOL might challenge the district court's ruling, so stay tuned for additional updates from the Government Affairs team!
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