Posted Jul 12, 2011 08:13 pm CDT
A proposed change in the way the U.S. Department of Labor interprets a 1959 statute could restrict the role of legal counsel, if it is approved.
Under the proposal, the department would change the way it interprets the “advice” exemption for the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. That would potentially impose new restrictions and reporting requirements on law firms deemed to be taking a persuasive role concerning employees seeking to exercise collective bargaining rights, reports Healthcare Finance News.
If adopted, the new rule is “going to cause many law firms to re-analyze whether they want to be involved in the kind of work that employers need legal advice on when they have union organizing campaigns,” predicts attorney Charles Caulkins. He is the managing partner of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., office of Fisher & Phillips.
In addition to the increased paperwork and potential criminal sanctions for inaccurate reporting that would result from the amendment, law firms also will object to having to identify clients and disclose how much they are charging, as the new rule would require, Caulkins says.
The department is seeking comments on the proposed rule change until Aug. 22.
Lexology: “DoL proposes rule to expand scope of “persuader” activity and increase reporting by employers and others”