New Posting Requirement For Federal Contractors

Government ContractThe U.S. Department of Labor has issued a final rule specifying the contents of a new required notice for federal contractor and subcontractor employees. The notice, to be titled “Notification of Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Laws,” is intended to advise employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

The details of the notice are prescribed by the DOL. Among other things, contractors are required to advise employees specifically that they have the right to “organize a union to negotiate” with their employer, to “form, join or assist a union,” to “bargain collectively” and “take action to improve working conditions,” and to “choose not to do any of these activities.” The required notice also specifies various employer and union activities that are illegal during employee efforts to organize. These prohibited activities are well known to labor lawyers, but may take some employers by surprise.

Importantly, where a significant portion of a contractor’s workforce is not proficient in English, the contractor must provide the same notice in the language of those employees. Copies of the notice, including translations in many languages, are available from the DOL’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

The new regulation applies to new federal contracts beginning June 21, 2010. Notably, however, the regulation, and hence the posting requirement, does not apply to prime contracts under $100,000 or to subcontracts below $10,000.

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