While we were all enjoying the days leading up to the New Year, the NLRB (somewhat) quietly backtracked again on its deadline for virtually all employers to comply with its proposed posting rule.
You may recall that I wrote on October 13, 2011 about how the NLRB had extended the deadline for compliance from November 14th to January 31, 2012, with the Board explaining then that the extension was done “to allow for further education and outreach.” No real mention of the fact that there also just happens to be three separate lawsuits pending in which courts in the District of Columbia and South Carolina are being asked to enjoin enforcement and to strike down the rule as being beyond the NLRB’s rule-making jurisdiction.
Right before the holiday, the NLRB issued another press release announcing that it “has agreed to postpone the effective date of its employee rights notice-posting rule at the request of the federal court in Washington, DC hearing a legal challenge regarding the rule.” Presumably, there is no longer a need for extended “education and outreach,” and there is now an acknowledgement that the pending legal proceedings will have an impact – one way or the other – on the extent to which employers can be forced to expressly advise their employees in writing of the right to unionize and engage in protected concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act.
Employer Take Away: What should you as an employer take away from this development?
The new (current) deadline for complying with the NLRB’s posting rule is April 30, 2012. It is unclear whether courts will strike down all or part of the Board’s rule, which is clearly a pro-employee initiative designed to further force businesses to educate their workforce about what rights employees may have. For now, hold off on obtaining the new posters, but keep some wall space available in your cafeterias and kitchenettes. There will be more to this story long before the next deadline in April.