The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday released an Action Alert to members of the Chamber, encouraging them to address the new Department of Labor Persuader Rule.
The Chamber urged the members to discuss the new rule with their attorneys before July 1.
“Yesterday, lower courts in Texas momentarily halted the latest efforts by the Obama Administration to give unions an advantage over businesses,” Chamber President Ted Pitts said. “The proposed Department of Labor rule not only destroys businesses' client-attorney privilege, but gives unions full insight into how businesses are preparing to defend themselves against attempts to be unionized.”
Under the new rule, large businesses will have the ability to ask their in-house legal departments for advice concerning labor relations issues; small businesses will not have this ability with the new rule. This means that small businesses will no longer have the option to gain confidential legal advice for labor issues.
It also means that a company that asks a labor consultant or attorney for advice to defend themselves from unionization will be reported to the government. This effectively degrades the client-attorney confidentiality that is part of the labor law environment. This could majorly debilitate South Carolina’s small businesses, the Chamber asserted.
“The Department of Labor has indicated that as it currently interprets the proposed rule, if your business formally retains labor consultants or attorneys before July 1, 2016, this rule would not apply to that retention arrangement or fees paid under it,” Pitts said. “The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce strongly opposes this rule and supports efforts at the federal level to stop the rule in court. You are encouraged to contact your labor attorney. If you need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be glad to provide any information that may help you navigate this new executive ruling.”