Joel Castillo

The latest regulation to roll off the assembly line is one that seems almost impossible — but unfortunately, it really is true.

Starting Jan. 31, 2012, any remodeler, home improvement professional, or manufacturer with a gross annual volume of $500,000 or more will be required to post an 11-by-17-inch “Notification of Employee Rights under the National Labor Relations Act” notice in a conspicuous location in each place where disclosures to employees are customarily posted.

As the title suggests, the notice informs employees of their rights under the federal National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) — their right to act together to improve wages and working conditions; their right to strike; their right to form, join, and assist a union; and their right to bargain collectively with you, the employer.

Post or Perish

If you post employee policies and communications electronically, such as on an intranet or Internet site, then you also need to post a copy of this notice in the same manner — electronically. From a purely legal standpoint, many believe that the NLRA does not grant the federal government this right to intrude into private enterprises. My firm — along with the National Association of Professionally Accredited Contractors, as well as a host of other pro-business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce http://www.uschamber.com/ and the National Federation of Independent Business http://www.nfib.com/ — has been lobbying Congressional representatives to intervene to reverse this rule.

While the National Labor Relations Board does not have the legal authority to impose fines against a contractor for not posting the document, failure to comply with this rule could, in theory, create a claim against you under state labor laws. If you knowingly and willfully fail to post the notice, the failure could be considered evidence of unlawful motive in an unfair labor practice case involving other alleged violations of the NLRA. For the time being we recommend that our clients comply with the posting requirements.

—D.S. Berenson is the Washington, D.C., managing partner of Berenson LLP (homeimprovementlaw.com), a national law firm specializing in the representation of contractors and the home improvement industry. He may be contacted at 703.759.1055 or info@berensonllp.com.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.