On July 12th I posted a report on this blog about the U.S. Department of Labor’s “persuader rule” that was set to go into effect on July 1st. This rule would have required employers and their labor consultants—including employers’ attorneys—to file reports with the DOL disclosing in a public record the work the consultants performed, including fees paid, if the work even so much as “indirectly” is undertaken to persuade employees regarding the exercise of their rights to organize or join labor unions. At that time I reported that on June 27th the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas at Lubbock had issued a preliminary nationwide injunction against the DOL, prohibiting it from enforcing the persuader rule, pending a final decision on the merits of the case. Independent Federation of Business, et al. v. Thomas E. Perez, et al, Case No. 5:16-CV-00016 (N.D. Texas, June 27, 2016).
To bring readers up to date, on August 29th, the DOL appealed the District Court’s injunction order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, where the case is still pending. However, this appeal did not divest the District Court of jurisdiction, and the case proceeded there. Yesterday, November 16th, the court granted the plaintiffs’ summary judgment motion and denied the DOL’s summary judgment motion. The court said it is of the opinion that its preliminary injunction should be converted to a permanent, nationwide injunction. However, the court did not enter final judgment today, stating that it first wanted to determine whether the plaintiffs are entitled to recover their attorney fees and costs. The court has ordered the parties to file briefs on that issue in the next few weeks.