Law & Principles

Standing up for small business

February 25, 2016

On Wednesday in the Tulsa World, Oklahoma state director of the National Federation of Independent Business Jerrod Shouse explained how a new rule proposed by the Obama administration would hurt small business.

The proposed Persuader Advice Exemption Rule, Shouse writes, would require small businesses to disclose communication with outside counsel regarding labors relations and could discourage lawyers from providing labor law advice.

He goes on to write, “The administration’s rule is aimed squarely at the kinds of businesses where the individual who signs the checks is the same person who empties the trash and locks up at night.”

So why should this proposed rule concern small businesses?

Currently, the Department of Labor has a number of requirements for people who engage in the unionization process as a “persuader.” Legal advice typically falls outside these rules as long as the attorney doesn’t engage with workers and as long as the small-business owner is free to accept or reject the lawyer’s advice.

This proposed Persuader Advice Exemption Rule would change that. It would apply all of the government’s persuader rules to any lawyer who offers advice of any sort to a business owner.

The disclosure requirements would require that a lawyer not just identify themselves as advising the business, it would also force them to disclose publicly all fees and arrangements from all clients for all labor relations services.

Read Shouse’s entire op-ed about the proposed rule here.