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Revisions of Regulations Concerning Procedures for Filing Appeals to Regional Directors' Refusal To Issue, or Reissue, Complaint

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

National Labor Relations Board.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board is amending regulations concerning the procedures for filing an appeal to the General Counsel from a Regional Director's dismissal of an unfair labor practice charge. The revisions, which reflect the actual practice under existing regulations, relieve persons seeking review from being required to file a complete and separate statement apart from the Appeal Form (Form 4767) to perfect an appeal before the Office of Appeals.

DATES:

Effective July 3, 2003.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Lester A. Heltzer, Executive Secretary, 202-273-1067.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Section 102.19(a) of the National Labor Relations Board's rules provides that if a Regional Director declines to issue complaint, or after withdrawing a complaint refuses to reissue it, the person making the charge may obtain review of the action by filing an appeal (or seeking an extension of time in which to file an appeal) within 14 days of being notified in writing by the Regional Director of the reasons for the decision. Significantly, Section 102.19(a) instructed that the appeal “shall” contain a complete statement setting forth the facts and reasons upon which it is based.

Despite the seemingly mandatory language of Section 102.19(a), the Office of Appeals has, for many years, accepted the “Appeal” form (Form 4767) attached to the Regional Director's dismissal letter as an appeal and sent acknowledgement to the parties based on a timely filing of such form. The policy was developed in response to the reality that many individual appellants to not have the language skills to perfect a more traditional appeal. Quite often, individuals without benefit of counsel have merely sent the form as indicative of an intent to appeal. These individuals apparently believe that they have perfected an appeal by sending in the form officially attached to the Region's dismissal letter. Since seeking review is the last recourse for a charging party whose charge has been dismissed, the Office of Appeals has maintained a policy that reflects a liberal exercise of discretion in order to afford appeal rights to the broadest population. Although an appeal is more effective if the party seeking review explains the basis for the disagreement with the Region's disposition, failure to include such a statement has not been considered by the Office of Appeals a basis for rejecting an otherwise timely filed appeal. In Grand Rapids Gravel Company, JD-114-02 (issued November 22, 2002),[1] an administrative law judge specifically rejected the assumption “that the filing of a notice of appeal is legally tantamount to the filing of the actual appeal.” Skip op. p.20. In order to avoid future challenges concerning the viability of an appeal based only on a notice, the rules and regulations and related forms are being revised to reflect the actual practice. Because of the obvious utility of such a statement, the General Counsel believes most charging parties will continue to submit them, even if it is not mandatory. Once a case is appealed, the same level of review is afforded despite the brevity of an appeal. Because the current practice is fairer to individual, unrepresented charging parties, the language applicable to the procedures of filing an appeal has been revised to reflect that practice and to make the public aware of the actual practice.

For these reasons, the General Counsel is eliminating the requirement that a complete and separate statement must be submitted in order to constitute an appeal from the Regional Director's refusal to issue, or reissue, a compliant.

Administrative Procedure Act

Because the change involves rules of agency organization, procedure or practice, the Agency is not required to publish for comment under Section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act (5.U.S.C. 553).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

Because no notice of proposed rule-making is required for procedural rules, the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) pertaining to regulatory flexibility analysis do to apply to these rules. However, even if the Regulatory Flexibility Act were to apply, the NLRB certifies that these changes will not have a significant economic impact on small business entities since the changes Start Printed Page 39837merely codify the actual practice under the existing rules.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

Because the rule relates to Agency procedure and practice and merely modifies the agency's existing filing procedure, the General Counsel has determined that the Congressional review provisions of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 U.S.C. 801) do not apply

Paperwork Reduction Act

This part does not impose any reporting or recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

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List of Subjects in 29 CFR Part 102

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For the reasons set forth above, the NLRB amends

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PART 102—RULES AND REGULATIONS, SERIES 8

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1. The authority citation for

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Authority: Section 6, National Labor Relations Act, as amended (29 U.S.C. 151, 156). Section 102.117(c) also issued under Section 552(a)(4)(A) of the Freedom of Information Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(A)). sections 102.143 through 102.155 also issued under Section 5034(c)(1) of the Equal Access to Justice Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. 504(c)(1)).

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2. Section 102.19(a) is revised to read as follows:

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Appeal to the general counsel from refusal to issue or reissue.

(a) If, after the charge has been filed, the Regional Director declines to issue a complaint or, having withdrawn a complaint pursuant to § 102.18, refuses to reissue it, he shall so advise the parties in writing, accompanied by a simple statement of the procedural or other grounds for his action. The person making the charge may obtain a review of such action by filing the “Appeal Form” with the General Counsel in Washington, DC, and filing a copy of the “Appeal Form” with the Regional Director, within 14 days from the service of the notice of such refusal to issue or reissue by the Regional Director, except as a shorter period is provided by § 102.81. If an appeal is taken the person doing so should notify all other parties of his action, but any failure to give such notice shall not affect the validity of the appeal. The person may also file a statement setting forth the facts and reasons upon which the appeal is based. If such a statement is timely filed, the separate “Appeal Form” need not be served. A request for extension of time to file an appeal shall be in writing and be received by the office of General Counsel, and a copy of such request filed with the Regional Director, prior to the expiration of the filing period. Copies of the acknowledgement of the filing of an appeal and of any ruling on a request for an extension of time for filing the appeal shall be served on all parties. Consideration of an appeal untimely filed is within the discretion of the General Counsel upon good cause shown.

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Dated: Washington, DC, June 25, 2003.

By direction of the Board.

Lester A. Heltzer,

Executive Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  Cases No. 7-CA-44094 and 7-CA-44211. The Board adopted the decision on February 27, 2003, without exceptions being filed.

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[FR Doc. 03-16549 Filed 7-2-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7545-01-M