As previously anticipated on this blog, the Department of Labor (DOL) has formally rescinded the so-called “Persuader Rule.” Under court injunction preventing enforcement since November 2016, the DOL on Wednesday announced that the controversial rule had been withdrawn. In a press release, Deputy Assistant Nathan Mehrens stated: “By rescinding this Rule, the Department stands up for the rights of Americans to ask a question of their attorney without mandated disclosure to the government.”
The Persuader Rule would have imposed greater reporting requirements on employers for communications involving union drives in the workplace. The rule would have required employers to disclose any “actions, conduct or communications” taken to “affect an employee’s decisions regarding his or her representation or collective bargaining rights.” This broadly would have included communications between an employer and their counsel regarding responses to unionization efforts, even where the employer’s counsel made no communications with employees directly.
This development is, of course, good news for employers. With the rule rescinded, employers can remain assured that they will not need to report sensitive communications with their counsel. Moreover, labor professionals can avoid what would have otherwise been a complicated, complex reporting process, and hindered the ability of employers, especially smaller ones, to obtain the legal advice needed to respond to union organizing activity.