Effective July 1, 2016, any private employer that receives a broad array of union-related advice or materials from a law firm or consultant must disclose that information to the government. However, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently intimated that the reporting requirement likely will not apply to employers that have a multiyear agreement with a law firm in place by June 30, 2016.
Earlier this year, the DOL released the final version of its controversial and expansive “Persuader Rule,” which changes federal disclosure requirements for labor relations consultants and employers. (Read our previous blog post on the Persuader Rule.) In an unprecedented move, the DOL will now require that employers disclose how much money their company spends on law firms or consultants that advise on union organizing activities. Further, that information will be made available to the public on the DOL’s website. The kinds of legal advice that would have to be disclosed could be as routine as personnel policy advice and supervisor training.
However, last week the DOL intimated that if an employer already has in place a multiyear agreement with a law firm to provide these services by June 30, this reporting requirement likely will not apply to advice provided under the existing agreement.
What This Means to You
Many companies prefer not to disclose the details of their legal spending to the general public. If you would like to ensure your current engagement or arrangement with your law firm meets this exception, you should contact your attorney immediately.