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Department of Labor's Proposed Rule Would Silence Employers

On Wednesday, September 21, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) filed comments in opposition to the Department of Labor’s proposal to make it more difficult for employers, especially smaller-sized businesses, to access legal assistance to help them comply with the complex and nuanced laws governing labor relations.

Current law requires employers, law firms and other labor union experts to disclose when employers seek assistance from consultants who intend to directly “persuade” employees regarding union membership. For decades, the law has included a very important exemption: employers are allowed to obtain legal advice from attorneys to remain compliant with current law.

The proposed changes would drastically expand the definition of “persuader” activity to include many activities currently recognized as labor law advice - effectively “gagging” employers and keeping many employees from hearing both sides of the unionization debate. The NAM argues that the proposed changes would “significantly impair the ability of employers to obtain essential legal counsel and advice from experienced labor and employment attorneys regarding a broad range of critical workplace issues.”

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