2 Important Labor Updates Affecting Small Business

Date: March 17, 2014

NLRB poster rule dies; Supreme Court skeptical about Pres. Obama’s recess appointments.

Small business scored an important victory in January.

On Jan. 6, the National Labor Relations Board announced that it would not petition the Supreme Court to review two appeals court decisions that had struck down the agency’s “poster rule.” The rule, which the NLRB introduced in May 2011, would have required businesses to hang signs notifying employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

In a statement, Karen R. Harned, executive director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center, called the NLRB’s announcement “a victory for small business owners who have been subjected to the illegal actions of a labor board that has consistently acted outside of its authority and failed in its duty as a neutral arbiter.”

Although the NLRB’s poster rule may have evaded Supreme Court review, Pres. Obama’s NLRB recess appointments did not. On Jan. 13, the high court heard oral arguments in NLRB v. Noel Canning, a case challenging three appointments the president made to the board in January 2012 while he believed the Senate was in recess. NFIB previously filed an amicus brief with the high court, arguing that the appointments were unconstitutional. Last year, the D.C. Circuit agreed with NFIB.

During the January arguments, many of the justices expressed skepticism about the president’s appointments. 

“There was little to no support for the president’s position that he gets to decide when Congress is in session,” Harned told MyBusiness. “The justices seemed to agree with us that the president overreached here. At the end of the day, if we win, the recess appointment clause may not be a viable part of the Constitution anymore.”

The court is expected to issue a ruling on NLRB v. Noel Canning by June.

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