Federal Spotlight: Persuader Rule is here

March 24, 2016

On Wednesday, the Department of Labor released the much anticipated Persuader Rule, which makes significant changes in requirements on how employers can seek advice regarding labor organizing activities.

It also addresses when a business will have to disclose information to the Department of Labor. These changes impact companies' union free campaigns and efforts to remain a union free business.

Under the old rules, only those entities who had direct contact with employees regarding labor organizing campaigns would have to disclose their activity to DOL.

Under the new rule, however, even those consultants who have no face-to-face contact with employees and are educating employers on employee rights to organize and bargain collectively will have to report to DOL as persuaders.

The only exception to the new definition is if an entity or consultant is only giving advice to the employer (this would include lawyers). Additionally, trade associations will be excluded from disclosure if they do not conduct seminars or provide materials to member companies themselves.  

The Obama Administration indicates that the previous definition, which has been in existence for several decades, “created a huge loophole” and that “employers have taken advantage of this loophole.

The Persuader Rule requires employers and their hired consultants to report when the consultants directly persuade workers or when the consultants act in one of the following four categories:

  1. Plan, direct, or coordinate managers to persuade workers;
  2. Provide persuader materials to employers to disseminate to workers;
  3. Conduct union avoidance seminars;
  4. Develop or implement personnel policies or actions to persuade workers.

Under the Persuader Rule, employers and consultants will have to report any of the following activities: planning or conducting employee meetings; training supervisors or employer representatives to conduct meetings; coordinating or directing the activities of supervisors or employer representatives; establishing or facilitating employee committees; drafting, revising or providing speeches; developing employer personnel policies designed to persuade employees; and identifying employees for disciplinary action, reward, or other targeting.

Thanks to the National Association of Manufacturers for providing the information that we used to develop this summary. Staff Contact: Myron Linn