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National Restaurant Association - Court OKs new NLRB poster mandate, but limits authority to penalize employers

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Court OKs new NLRB poster mandate, but limits authority to penalize employers

One federal court has given the National Labor Relations Board a green light to require businesses to post a new federal workplace notice advising employees of their right to join unions -- but the court battle over the mandate is likely to continue.

The National Restaurant Association, through the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, joined other business groups in December in suing to block the NLRB requirement. The business groups argued that the NLRB did not have the authority to impose the mandate on businesses.

A federal district court in Washington, D.C., ruled March 2 that the NLRB has the authority to require the workplace poster. However, the court also said that the agency did not have the authority to deem an employer's failure to post the notice to be an unfair labor practice, and said that a business's failure to post the notice does not start the clock running on a "statute of limitations" for charges employees can file against their employers under the National Labor Relations Act.

Both sides in the lawsuit are expected to appeal the court's ruling. "We are concerned that the poster mandate is just another example of how a union-friendly NLRB is trying to force its agenda on businesses," says Angelo Amador, vice president of labor and workforce policy for the Association.

The March 2 ruling came in one of two pending lawsuits on the poster mandate; a separate lawsuit challenging the NLRB's right to require businesses to hang the 11" x 17" posters is pending in a federal district court in South Carolina.

If a higher court does not intervene, the NRLB says April 30, 2012, is the effective date for the new posting requirement.



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