NFIB Legal Center Caps 2019 with Three Big Wins in December

Date: January 06, 2020

With nearly 50 amicus filings across the county in 2019, the NFIB Small Business Legal Center had yet another busy year defending small business rights in our nation’s courts. As previously reported, we had several important victories in the U.S. Supreme Court in June—including a decision clipping the wings of federal agencies claiming deference when interpreting ambiguous regulatory text. In December, we had three additional victories for the small business.

Here is a run-down of our latest wins:

  1. NFIB’s WOTUS Lawsuit: Victory on the WOTUS Rule

In 2015, NFIB sued to block a controversial rule from the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers. The “Waters of the United States Rule” (WOTUS) would have radically expanded federal power over private property under the guise of the Clean Water Act—extending draconian wetlands regulation even to dry land in many cases. After four years of wrangling, we’re finally wrapping this suit up. With pressure from NFIB and other concerned groups, EPA and Army Corps finalized a rule this year to officially rescind the Obama-era rule.

  1. Double Your Winnings: Two for One Rule Upheld

The Legal Center also filed in defense of President Trump’s Executive Order requiring federal agencies to make deregulation a priority. Specifically, President Trump ordered that federal agencies must eliminate two regulations for every new regulation promulgated. When this policy was challenged in court, we filed an amicus brief arguing that the suit should be dismissed. And in December 2019 the federal courts agreed. This means that federal agencies must continue to adhere to this “regulatory budget.”

  1. NLRB Reverses Course: Allows Employers to Restrict Employee Use of Company Email Systems

In 2014, the National Labor Relations Board issued a shocking decision that prohibited employers from enforcing policies restricting use of company email systems. In Purple Communications, Inc. the NLRB said that employers had to allow employees to use company email for non-business (i.e., unionization) purposes. The NFIB Legal Center argued that decision conflicted with prior cases and raised serious constitutional issues. In December, the NLRB overturned Purple Communications vindicating NFIB’s position. This means employers can limit use of company computers to legitimate business purposes going forward, as long as the policies are not discriminatory in nature.

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