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Opinion: Don't tread on us - we'll sue

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Small-business owners aren’t usually the litigious type. In fact, the word “lawsuit” usually raises the hair on entrepreneurs’ necks, as one frivolous suit can threaten the very existence of their businesses and, therefore, destroy their livelihoods.

However, every person and every group has its limits. And when the government goes a step too far, small-business owners will wield their right to sue.

The government has gone one step too far quite a bit lately. The latest offense was a punishing new rule from the National Labor Relations Board demanding that private-sector employers with no history of labor-law violations publicly display an 11-by-17 inch notice highlighting employees’ right to organize labor unions. Any business failing to do so by Nov. 14 could face charges of unfair labor practices, be pounced on by federal investigators and ultimately be taken to court.

During the public comment period on this rule, the National Federation of Independent Business pointedly noted that the absence of a union-election petition or the finding of an unfair labor practice should be sufficient evidence that the posting was overkill, especially a notice that offered far more detail than necessary.

But this type of common sense fell on deaf ears. The rule went forward and now carries the force of law.

Unless stopped in its tracks, the new NLRB poster rule will be costly and time-consuming for some 6 million small employers. It could also hinder any job creation they may have been working toward.

The rule is, ultimately, a gross overreach of the National Labor Relations Act that the NLRB operates under. That’s why the NFIB, on behalf of its hundreds of thousands of small-business members, has filed a lawsuit against the NLRB.

NFIB’s lawsuit to protect the rights of small employers asks the court to set the rule aside and declare that the NLRB’s poster-trap is a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.

Sadly, the NLRB poster rule is indicative of Washington’s current anti-business attitude, which is increasingly forcing the private sector to take drastic actions to get the federal government’s attention. Instead of meeting on Main Street and creating jobs, small-business owners and the federal government are meeting in court.

The small-business community dislikes lawsuits. But if they’re pushed too far, it’s what they have to do.

—Dan Danner, National Federation of Independent Business president and CEO[[In-content Ad]]

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