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NEW UPDATE: Employers Catch A Break With Postponement of Employee Rights Notice Requirement

Client Alert - October 7, 2011

By Marc Furman

Just in time for the Fall Classic! Within moments after sending Wednesday’s email update about the National Labor Relations Board’s publication of its employee rights notice, we learned that the Board decided to push back the notice deadline to January 31, 2012. The Board’s unexpected decision is the latest curve ball thrown at employers in recent months – and fortunately is one that benefits employers.

In its October 5, 2011 press release, the Board states that it has postponed the November 2011 deadline for employers to post the “Employee Rights Under the National Labor Relations Act” notice. As previously reported, the Board recently established a rule requiring most private-sector employers to post a notice of employee rights as of November 14, 2011. The Board later published the 11 x 17 inch poster on its website.

The Board explained that it decided to postpone the deadline “in order to allow for enhanced education and outreach to employers,” and thereby “ensur[e] broad voluntary compliance” with the rule. According to the Board, this decision “follow[s] queries from businesses and trade organizations indicating uncertainty about which businesses fall under the Board’s jurisdiction.”

However, the Board cautioned that the postponement should not be viewed as a sign of impending change or reversal of the rule, stating that “[n]o other changes in the rule, or in the form or content of the notice, will be made.”

This postponement will not affect pending federal lawsuits seeking to invalidate the rule. However, this delay will provide valuable time for the courts to decide whether to enjoin the rule before the new effective date of January 31, 2012.

At this point, employers need not post the notice contained on the Board’s web site, and may postpone or put on hold any orders of pre-packaged employment law posters containing the Board notice. We will keep you apprised of developments from the courts and the Board.