On May 14, 2012, a U.S. District Court issued a decision that effectively voids the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) new election rules that went into affect on April 30, 2012. Judge James Boasberg of the District Court for the District of Columbia granted a motion for summary judgment filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in which the chamber argued that the rules were enacted without the three-member quorum required by law.

The court based its decision strictly on the quorum issue, making no decision with respect to the substantive validity of the NLRB’s new election rules themselves, specifically stating that had the NLRB had a proper quorum, it is possible that the rules would have been found “perfectly lawful.”

The NLRB may appeal the court’s decision or it may also consider voting to adopt the rule with a quorum. The court noted that possibility, but it also noted that uncertainty remains regarding the NLRB’s quorum issue, as litigation is pending that challenges President Barack Obama’s January 4 recess appointment of three new NLRB members.

What This Means to You

The court’s decision effectively delays the NLRB’s enforcement and implementation of the new “streamlining” or “ambush” election rules until the NLRB can appropriately adopt the rule with a proper quorum or the court’s decision is overturned on appeal. For now, employers will not have to deal with the possibility of a rushed election process.

This is an update to our May 1, 2012 Alert.