Perhaps due to the increased scrutiny business advocacy groups have placed on the implications of the DOL’s anticipated revisions to the “persuader” regulations, the agency has said it is once again delaying the final rule’s release. Initially slated for a November 2013 publication, the rule that would broaden the scope of an employer’s reportable activities by substantially narrowing the "advice exemption" in Section 203(c) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) was subsequently re-set for a March 2014 unveiling, according to the DOL’s Fall 2013 Regulatory Agenda. The DOL’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) has now pushed off that publication date. An OLMS representative confirmed with Littler’s Workplace Policy Institute that the new estimated finalization date would be announced in the agency’s Spring 2014 Regulatory Agenda.
If the final rule resembles the proposal, it would have a drastic impact on the confidential nature of the attorney/client relationship, as it would expand the types of union-related activities that would trigger reporting requirements from both employers and law firms. Many small employers without in-house counsel to assist with the LMRDA’s reporting requirements would be placed at a particular disadvantage. Last month, a number of trade associates wrote a letter to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, asking the agency to delay the rule’s release for these and other reasons. We will follow this rule closely, and report on any new developments.