In an e-brief in March we wrote to you about a new U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) “Persuader Rule” that would have required highly burdensome disclosures by lawyers about their clients when lawyers represent clients in union organizing campaigns or assist in union avoidance strategies. The new Persuader Rule would have intruded on attorney-client confidentiality. The American Bar Association and many other groups opposed the rule.
Under the new Persuader Rule, for the first time, confidential information regarding agreements with attorneys or consultants for services such as guidance, supervisor training, and materials, concerning labor relations would be required to be reported to the DOL and would become public record. The DOL recently backtracked, stating that agreements between attorneys or consultants and their clients regarding such “indirect persuader” activities would be exempted from the new reporting requirements if the agreement were entered into prior to July 1, 2016.
The new rule was scheduled to become effective on July 1, but it has been stopped at least temporarily. On June 27, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking the DOL from implementing the new rule. National Fed’n of Indep. Bus. v. Perez, Case No. 5:16-cv-00066-C (N.D. Tex. June 27, 2016). Under the Court’s Order, the DOL is prohibited from implementing the new rule until further notice.
It is expected that the DOL will appeal the Texas federal court ruling. Several other lawsuits have been brought against the DOL in federal courts across the country seeking to enjoin the rule. We will keep you posted on developments as the fate of the new Persuader Rule is decided by the courts.
If you have any questions on this topic or need assistance, please contact our Labor & Employment Law Practice Group. We encourage you to subscribe to our Labor & Employment E-Briefs to get the latest HR news, tips, and updates.