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December 2017 Archives

NLRB closes out year with major pro-business changes

In the waning days of 2017, the National Labor Relations Board delivered some notable pro-business decisions. Earlier this month, the panel reversed three Obama-era rules on labor over which business owners had bridled. These included:

  • A retrenchment on how a joint-employer is defined
  • Easing the standard by which company policies might be deemed to violate worker collective bargaining rights

The board also rolled back a rule that made it easier for subsets of employees within a company to unionize. Employers had long complained that the so-called Specialty Healthcare rule established during the Obama administration set a standard for challenging such micro-bargaining units that was nearly impossible to meet.

How this happened

Analysts are in general agreement that these reversals are the direct result of the fact that for the first time in many years, the NLRB enjoyed a 3-2 Republican majority. All of the recent changes passed along the party line. Observers also note that the flurry of pro-business decisions came as Republican board chairman, Philip Miscimarra, marked the end of his term. He has not been replaced, and the board now features a 2-2 split among its members.

What it means

The decisions are widely hailed as positive by business advocates. One official of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says they reflect a restoration of "common sense and balance to a board that unfairly favored labor unions over the past eight years."

What the implications are for individual businesses in the U.S., and the Pittsburgh area specifically, is something that deserves closer examination. We plan to dive more deeply into each of the actions in subsequent posts.

While such reversals are undoubtedly welcome by many employers, to be sure of compliance with all employment law, a consultation with experienced attorneys such as those at Kisner Law Firm, LLC, is encouraged.

Importance of local counsel for non-Pittsburgh litigants

The legal profession is notable for having a language all its own. Actually, it's not so much that it has its own language as that it continues to rely on a language (Latin) that is not in widespread use. There's even a little irony in this fact. Latin became the common legal language when the Roman Empire set the boundaries of what was then the known world. Today, the whole globe is the known world and Latin maintains its presence in the legal world.

While business and commerce takes place across myriad state and international borders, legal issues, including those that might be related to employment or transaction disputes, are dealt with at the local level. To be sure that these issues get handled in the most effective manner, it makes sense that you seek the help of someone who knows the local court system. The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania considers this so important that out of state attorneys hire local counsel who move the Court for their pro hac vice admission, which means, for this occasion.

To meet the pro hac vice admission standard:

  • The attorney must be admitted to practice in the district court of the state in which he or she is admitted and be a member in good standing of the bar.
  • The attorney must attest by affidavit to being in active practice in his or her home state and to reviewing the local rules of the court to which he or she seeks temporary practice privileges.

These are requirements for out of state attorneys with cases in the Western District of Pennsylvania in Allegheny County. Local counsel services may also be needed if you are dealing with an employee discrimination complaint before the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission or the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations. Whether you are called before the Western District of Pennsylvania or a Pennsylvania administrative agency, the Kisner Law Firm has the skill and experience to assist litigants and their out of state counsel in appearances before the local courts and agencies. 

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