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DOL Persuader Rule Permanently Blocked By Texas Judge

On November 16, 2016, Judge Sam Cummings of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas granted a permanent injunction against the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) “Persuader Rule,” which was previously temporarily enjoined on June 28, 2016, in National Federation of Independent Business et al. v. Perez et al. As previously discussed, the Persuader Rule would have egregiously required new, complex and unprecedented levels of disclosure for attorneys, consultants, associations and other professionals who provide advice to employers about how to legally communicate with their employees. Additionally, these professionals would have been required to disclose to the federal government their client lists and other confidential information not related to the transaction in question. Although it is uncertain whether the DOL will appeal Judge Cummings’ ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Court’s decision to grant a permanent injunction is a significant victory for businesses across the country. Particularly in these uncertain times in the landscape of labor and employment law, employers need predictability and certainty in knowing that their confidential communications with their attorneys will not be subject to federal disclosure requirements. Judge Cummings’ decision grants employers that much-needed peace of mind, at least in the interim.