U.S. Supreme Court Finds that NLRB Appointments Were Unconstitutional

For small to mid-sized business owners who deal with unionization, it may be of interest to know that the U.S. Supreme Court recently declared President Obama’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) appointments were unconstitutional.

On June 26, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case National Labor Relations Board vs. Noel Canning. The case addressed the installation of three NLRB members in 2012 while the U.S. Senate was in recess for three days. In the case, brought by a Pepsi-Cola distributor, Noel Canning, the plaintiff argued that a three day adjournment was not long enough to trigger the Recess Appointments Clause. The Recess Appointments Clause gives the President the power to fill all vacancies that occur during the Senate’s recess. In general, members serving on the NLRB require Senate confirmation before assuming their positions. The Recess Appointments Clause is an exception to this rule. The Senate previously had declined to approve the President’s proposed nominees and went into recess. The Supreme Court decided that the President exceeded his authority in appointing the members during the short recess.

Consequently, because the NRLB appointments were found to be invalid, hundreds of cases heard by the NRLB were also not valid. The Board was without a quorum to render its decisions.

If you had a case that went before the NRLB during this time period, it must be heard again.

According to a Fox News article, changes in rules that the NLRB implemented regarding how employees choose or decline union representation made it easier for unions to win unionization elections. The Supreme Court ruling and new NLRB appointments may open the door for opportunites that lead to greater security for employers.

Stephan Hans & Associates is a long-established employment litigation firm located in Long Island City, Queens that represents employers in labor and employment law matters.

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