Court Rules that New NLRB Rules Are Invalid; NLRB Suspends Implementation

Last week we reported that the NLRB’s new representation election rules went into effect on April 30, 2012. We also noted that a lawsuit had been filed challenging the new rules in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The court issued its opinion on May 14. The court held that the new representation election rules are invalid because only two members of the NLRB took part in the December 16, 2011 decision to adopt them, and the NLRB therefore enacted the rules without the required three-member quorum.

In response, the NLRB suspended implementation of the rules. Accordingly, election petitions that are filed now will be subject to prior representation rules rather than to the new representation rules. Had the new rules remained in effect, they would have shortened the time period between the filing of a petition for an election and the holding of an election. We will keep you updated on any further developments on this issue.

Connecticut Supreme Court Rules on Sexual Orientation Suit

On May 15, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that Connecticut General Statutes § 46a-81c(1) imposes liability on employers for failing to take reasonable steps to prevent their employees from being subjected to hostile work environments based on their sexual orientation. Luis Patino v. Birken Manufacturing Company, SC 18441 (Conn. 2012). In so ruling, the court upheld the trial court’s award of $94,500 to the plaintiff employee, where the jury found that a hostile work environment existed at his workplace because his fellow employees regularly made derogatory comments related to his sexual orientation. In light of this decision, employers should review their anti-harassment policy to ensure that it prohibits harassment based on sexual orientation as well as the other protected classes.