Federal Court Rejects Challenge to Contractor Labor Posting Requirements
- May 22, 2015
In 2010, President Obama issued Executive Order 13496 requiring federal contractors to post a new notice of employee federal labor rights. Among other things, the posting advised contractors’ employees of their rights to organize under the National Labor Relations Act. Several employer trade associations sued to block the rules, claiming that they force employers to post views on unionization that are contrary to their own positions, in violation of their First Amendment rights. The contractors argued that they have the choice of posting pro-union information or foregoing federal contact participation.
Last week, a federal district court in Washington rejected these challenges in Nat’l Ass’n of Mfrs. v. Perez, upholding the Executive Order. The court concluded that the Executive Order only requires advising contractors’ employees of their statutory rights, and does not prohibit employers from freely expressing their opposition to unionization. The district court also rejected claims that the Order is arbitrary and capricious, or that it conflicts with measures authorized under the NLRA.
This decision is consistent with recent cases that have upheld Department of Labor requirements that employers post notices advising employees of their legal rights under various federal labor laws. Employers may object to the implicit pro-union message sent by these postings, but they cannot avoid bringing these messages into the workplace. The postings are yet another reason why employers need to adopt and implement an effective program intended to inform employees of their views regarding labor unions.