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Federal Court Upholds NLRB Poster Rule But Discards Penalties

    Client Alerts
  • March 09, 2012

In a mixed decision last week, a federal District Court in Washington upheld the National Labor Relations Board's authority to require employers to post notices regarding employees' collective bargaining rights. However, the court said that the NLRB could not penalize employers for failing to post the notice absent other evidence of violation of employee rights.

The case resulted from challenges by employer interest groups to a 2010 NLRB rule requiring the posting in most workplaces. Employers contended that the underlying labor legislation did not authorize this requirement, and that the proposed posters acted as a functional invitation for employees to join unions. The District Court rejected this contention, concluding that the poster was nothing more than informational, comparing it to numerous EEOC, OSHA, and similar listings of employee rights and responsibilities.
The court did reject portions of the NLRB rule that made failure to post the notice an unfair labor practice. Instead, the court stated that in order to find an unfair practice, the NLRB must make specific findings that the failure to post actually resulted in interference with employee rights.

The posting requirement has been delayed numerous times, but is currently scheduled to take effect April 30. The District Court's decision will almost certainly be appealed, and the NLRB may again postpone the effective date of the rule pending resolution by a federal appellate court.