On April 17, 2012, the D.C. Circuit issued an injunction blocking the National Labor Relation Board's controversial rule that would have required most private sector employers to post a notice of employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The rule is controversial because some organizations, such as the National Association of Manufacturers, see it as an unauthorized effort by the NLRB to encourage union membership. To be sure, the NLRA does not expressly grant the NLRB the authority to require employers to post notices of employee rights. The NLRB, however, argues that the NLRA's rulemaking provision authorizes the NLRB to issue the rule. Moreover, the NLRB believes that employees' ignorance of their rights under the NLRA is a major impediment to the exercise of those rights.
The rule was supposed to go into effect on April 30, but the D.C. Circuit's injunction will put the rule on hold pending the appeal of a lower court decision that found the NLRB had only limited means to enforce the rule. The injunction also comes on the heels of a ruling by a federal judge in South Carolina that the NLRB did in fact exceed its authority by issuing the rule. The NLRB stated in a press release that it will not implement the rule until the courts resolve the pending legal issues.