Just when the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seemed to have been resuscitated by the appointment of five members, along comes the government shutdown, shuttering the board.
The shutdown will result in the:
- Tolling of time for filing documents, including briefs and appeals.
- Postponement of unfair-labor-practice hearings before administrative law judges.
- Postponement of representation elections and hearings.
The six-month statute of limitations remains in effect for the filing of unfair-labor-practice charges, the board also noted.
The NLRB recommends that people who want to file this type of charge do so by faxing a copy of the charge to the board’s appropriate regional office.
Parties to hearings before an administrative law judge scheduled for the first week of the closure will be notified that their hearing has been postponed. If by the close of business on Oct. 4, 2013, no appropriations bill has been enacted into law or legislation passed that authorizes the board to operate during the week of Oct. 7, the hearings scheduled for that week will be postponed indefinitely.
And if no appropriations bill has been enacted by the close of business on Oct. 7, all hearings for the week of Oct. 14 will be postponed indefinitely.
All elections and pre- and postelection hearings scheduled from Oct. 1 through Oct. 11 have been postponed indefinitely.
If the board’s offices aren’t open by the close of business on the Tuesday before the Monday of the week in which the election is scheduled, the election hearing will be postponed indefinitely.
Significantly, in each case, until the election is postponed, the employer must post the notice of election for three full working days before the day of the election; failure to do so will be grounds for setting aside the election.
Along with posting a link to its closure notice on its website, the board will display a related notice at each of its offices.
And no need to bother calling the agency. Its recorded message alone will be available:
“You have reached [office name] at the NLRB. The agency is currently closed due to a lapse in appropriated funds. You may leave a message after the tone, but this voice mail will not be monitored during the shutdown, and your call will not be returned until after the agency resumes normal operations. Please consult the agency website at www.nlrb.gov for information on the effect of the shutdown on filing deadlines, scheduled hearings, representation elections, and the timeliness of charges and petitions. If you are calling about an imminent threat to human life or property as a result of a violation of the National Labor Relations Act, you should call (202) 273-1000, send a fax to (202) 273-4483, or send an e-mail to EmergencyContact@NLRB.gov. Thank you.”
During the shutdown the NLRB may undertake only government activities that are necessary to prevent an imminent threat to the safety of human life or the protection of property.
Allen Smith, J.D., is the manager of workplace law content for SHRM. Follow him @SHRMlegaleditor.
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