Thursday, June 26, 2014

High Court Rebukes Obama on NLRB Appointments

The U. S. Supreme Court ruled this morning (decision here) that President Obama exceeded his authority in making recess appointment to fill certain vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board in 2012.

The early buzz around the Web is nothing short of a tutorial on how to create “spin.”  Many left-leaning pundits are using words like "narrow," "limited," "essentially meaningless," and other dismissive adjectives to describe the unanimous decision.  The business community, on the other hand, is reveling in the court's defense and protection of the Senate's constitutional role as a check on the president's authority to make appointments to agencies that forge national policy.

One thing is certain:  employers will want to see how this ruling ultimately shakes out because its effect on their businesses could be huge.

The decision could well mean that the hundreds of cases decided by the Board from January 2012 to July 2013 are suddenly void.  Remember, some of those decisions were real doozies and dealt with a host of lightning-rod issues, such as social media, mandatory arbitration, class action waivers, and quickie election rules.

Lest anyone celebrate too wildly, however, remember that the current roster of Board members was properly appointed and, in fact, it has been that way since July 2013.  Any decisions since then, regardless of how inane they may seem, can't be invalidated on the basis of this new decision.

Workplace Update will bring you further developments and guidance as appropriate.  (For now, enjoy the day and cheer Team USA on to victory in the World Cup.)

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