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On August 27, SHRM Membership Advisory Committee (MAC) Member Sharon Sellers (pictured below with Representative Phil Roe of Tennessee) testified in front of the House Education and Workforce Committee about the recently announced Department of Labor’s ‘persuader’ rule and its impact on employers and employees. Back in 2011, SHRM led the charge on the rule joined by 19 state councils and 47 chapters when SHRM filed comments with the agency in response to the proposal. In addition, 2,477 individual SHRM members also submitted comments to DOL.
As previously reported in HR Issues Update, last month DOL released its final persuader rule. Under this rule, employers and their hired consultants must report to DOL the services provided when they are hired to persuade employees about unionization. Under the previous regulations, employers did not have to report when such consultants merely provided advice to the employer and didn’t interact directly with employees. The final rule changes the interpretation of advice such that most arrangements between employers and consultants on union issues will now need to be reported.
While DOL did incorporate some of the comments provided early by SHRM in it's response to the agency on its initial proposal, Seller’s testimony highlighted some of the unintended consequences of the final rule – namely that stringent reporting requirements will deter many employers, especially small employers, from seeking out labor compliance information and training. SHRM believes that employers should not encounter obstacles when reaching out to consultants and law firms on how best to comply with the law when communicating with employees about unionization.
In her testimony, Sellers also explained how this rule could have a negative impact on HR consultants and employers who utilize consultants and employers when navigating challenging labor relations issues. Check out the webcast:
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