Final Rule on Notice of Employee Rights is Now in Effect for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors

By: Christopher S. Drewry

Shortly after President Obama took office last year, he signed Executive Order 13496 requiring federal contractors and subcontractors who conduct business with the federal government or who perform work essential to a federal contract to post in their workplace a notice informing employees of their rights under federal labor laws, including the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).  Additionally, the Order requires such contractors and subcontractors to include in any subcontract or purchase order the requirement that the subcontractor must comply with the notice obligation.  This Order revokes a prior Executive Order issued by President Bush in 2001 that required federal contractors to post a notice of employee rights not to join a union and not to pay agency fees for non-representational union expenditures as established under the Supreme Court’s 1998 decision in Communication Workers of America v. Beck.

On May 20, 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) published the final rule implementing this Order, with an effective date of June 21, 2010.  Therefore, as of that date, federal contractors and subcontractors are now required to post the prescribed employee rights notice at their workplaces.  The notice lists employees’ rights under the NLRA to form, join and assist a union and to bargain collectively with their employer.  Also, the notice provides examples of unlawful employer and union conduct that interferes with those rights, and indicates how employees can contact the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) with questions or complaints.

Employees have the right to file complaints with the DOL about contractors that do not comply with the prescribed requirements. Contractors that violate the requirements of the regulations may be subject to sanctions, including suspension or cancellation of the contract. Two DOL agencies, the Office of Labor-Management Standards (“OLMS”) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”), are responsible for administering and enforcing the rule’s requirements.

The Notice of Employee Rights can be downloaded from the OLMS website.  Contractors and subcontractors can choose to download directly from the website or can obtain a hard copy of the Notice by sending a request to or by calling (202) 693-0123.  For more information about the Executive Order and the final rule implementing the same, visit the OLMS website at