WASHINGTON, 2016-Mar-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation issued the following statement in response to today’s release from the Department of Labor of final rules significantly narrowing the advice exemption for employers under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.
“Once again, the Obama administration is bowing to labor unions and eliminating a well-established, clear test in favor of an ambiguous and open-ended standard that will lead to confusion for America’s employers,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “For more than 50 years, the Department of Labor has maintained a clear definition of the advice exemption so that employers could seek and receive legal counsel and protect employer free speech. Now, DOL is rewriting the law without any involvement from Congress and without any proof a change is needed.
“DOL’s new rules would trigger reporting requirements for any communications that could even indirectly persuade workers regarding collective bargaining. NRF is concerned that the new standard will discourage employers from seeking advice of counsel in a broad swath of areas that have nothing to do with traditional persuader activities.
“The end result will be a chilling effect on simple legal advice regarding employee or collective bargaining issues. Small retailers will be the first to suffer, and Big Labor will profit from this muzzling of free speech.”
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com