September 19, 2021

Volume XI, Number 262

Advertisement

September 17, 2021

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

September 16, 2021

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Federal Judge Says President Can Fire NLRB General Counsel

As we have previously reported, on his first day in office, President Biden fired former NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb after Robb refused to resign. This controversial move immediately sparked debate over the President’s authority to fire Robb, who was serving in the last year of his statutory four-year term when fired.

In response to Robb’s abrupt departure, challengers have argued that Robb’s replacement, Acting General Counsel Peter Sung Ohr, does not have authority to bring cases before the NLRB because his appointment was invalid. The NLRB has refused to weigh in on the issue, saying that it is a matter for federal courts to decide.

The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey addressed the issue in its recent order in the case Goonan v. Amerinox Processing. U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman granted the NLRB’s request for an injunction, despite Amerinox’s argument that the NLRB acting general counsel does not have authority to prosecute this matter because of Robb’s removal. Judge Hillman stated that federal labor law gives the President authority to fire NLRB general counsels without cause, and that the temporary assignment of an acting general counsel without compliance with the Appointments Clause does not render the NLRB’s petition for injunctive relief invalid.

Judge Hillman, however, did not specifically rule on the legality of President Biden’s firing of Peter Robb, nor were his comments about firing general counsels a deciding factor in issuing the injunction. Moreover, Judge Hillman noted that the NLRB’s regional director was seeking an injunction on behalf of the Board, not the general counsel.

Given the peripheral nature of Judge Hillman’s comments about firing general counsels generally, this case is not likely the end-all, be-all on the matter. Thus, unless the Supreme Court rules squarely on the issue of Robb’s firing, challenges will likely still roll in as potential defenses to charges brought by Ohr.

© 2021 BARNES & THORNBURG LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 197
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

About this Author

Associate

A detailed-oriented and strategic thinker, Colleen Naumovich is committed to helping her clients navigate the ever-changing field of labor and employment law, understand how the laws affect every facet of their business, and implement best practices.

Colleen brings focus and dedication to assisting her employer clients with various workplace and employee needs they have. She conducts legal research and drafts memoranda, motions, and positions statements to the National Labor Relations Board. She also helps clients prepare for trial by reviewing depositions and providing summaries of...

317-231-6408
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement