Preliminary Injunction Sought by Rutledge Granted in Challenge to Labor’s Persuader Rule

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June 27, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s request to enjoin the U.S. Department of Labor’s Persuader Advice Exemption Rule has been granted by a federal district court in Texas, blocking the rule from moving forward nationwide. Rutledge, along with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, led a 10-state coalition to intervene in the case in May.

“This is a big win for small businesses in Arkansas and across the country,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “With the court’s decision, employers will not be jeopardized by having to disclose confidential advice from attorneys needed to lawfully and appropriately respond to organizing campaigns or collective bargaining demands. Job growth and economic development will be protected by having this injunction in place. I commend the court for taking this important step, and I am confident that this rule will ultimately be found unlawful.”

This rule, which is a complete reversal of how the department has operated for half a century, forces disclosure of confidential information, communication and relationships between small businesses and their outside counsel in labor relations matters.

The nationwide injunction was granted in National Federation of Independent Business v. Perez. Rutledge and Paxton joined this case in Texas along with attorneys general from Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

In addition to her joining litigation in Texas, Rutledge has been vocal in her concern and opposition to this rule. Earlier this year, Arkansas and 12 others states sent a letter to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget voicing opposition to the proposal. The attorneys general asserted that the rule would place undue burdens on small businesses.

In April, Rutledge led a group of attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in Arkansas federal district court urging the judge to grant the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction of the rule. The brief was also filed in a similar case in a Minnesota federal district court, which has concluded that the Department of Labor rule is likely unlawful.

About Attorney General Leslie Rutledge

Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. She is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected to the office. Since taking office, she has begun a Mobile Office program, a Military and Veterans Initiative, a Metal Theft Prevention program and a Cooperative Disability Investigations program. She has led efforts to teach Internet safety, combat domestic violence and make the office the top law firm for Arkansans. Rutledge also re-established and co-chairs the National Association of Attorneys General Committee on Agriculture.

A native of Batesville, she is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Rutledge clerked for the Arkansas Court of Appeals, was Deputy Counsel for Gov. Mike Huckabee, served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Lonoke County and subsequently was an Attorney at the Department of Human Services before serving as Counsel at the Republican National Committee. Rutledge and her husband, Boyce, have a home in Pulaski County and a farm in Crittenden County.