Miller Requests DOJ Investigation into NLRB Member Hayes and his Discussions with Firm after IG Uncovers Troubling Evidence

Jan 26, 2012 Issues: Labor, Worker Rights


WASHINGTON – Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, asked the Department of Justice today to look into evidence uncovered by a National Labor Relations Board Inspector General investigation that found Board Member Brian Hayes engaged in employment discussions with a law firm with business before the agency.

“The Board plays a critical role in adjudicating and administering the rights of employees and employers under our nation’s labor law and Board members must be free of coercion and undue influence when executing their responsibilities,” Miller wrote. “Therefore, I respectfully request that the Department of Justice further investigate the circumstances surrounding the employment discussions between Member Hayes and Morgan Lewis and any other issues the Inspector General brings to your attention related to his investigation.”

The NLRB Inspector General investigation found that Member Hayes and an attorney with Morgan Lewis had a number of conversations beginning in late September or early October about potential employment if he were to resign his position on the NLRB. As part of those conversations, an attorney with the firm, according to Hayes, stated that “if you ever decide to resign we’d like to talk to you.” 

During that time, some had been calling on Hayes to resign in order to incapacitate the NLRB, preventing it from issuing case decisions or new rules, including a rule to reform union elections. Hayes' resignation would have denied the NLRB a quorum, stopping any action to advance the election rule, among other things.

Concerned about improper efforts to incapacitate the NLRB, Miller asked member Hayes to turn over communications discussing his resignation or potential future employment. Hayes refused to comply.

While not part of Miller’s Department of Justice referral, the Inspector General also found that a letter that member Hayes sent to Congress criticizing the rulemaking process for the election rule contained false statements and misrepresentations. The letter was apparently sent in the same time frame as or shortly after discussions between member Hayes and the law firm. The firm relies upon the letter in a federal lawsuit that it filed on behalf of its clients attempting to overturn the election rule.

The Inspector General concluded: “We also determined that, although the letter sent by Member Hayes to the Committee on Education and the Workforce communicates his opinion regarding the rule making process, it contained inaccurate statements of fact...Overall, the letter to the Committee creates the impression that Member Hayes and his staff were excluded from the rule making process. That impression is not completely accurate.”

Read Miller’s Department of Justice request here

Read the results of the NLRB Inspector General investigation here