Court Denied NLRB Injunctive Relief because it Failed to Prove Irreparable Harm

The National Labor Relations Board has the power to seek injunctive relief against employers. Injunctive relief, like a temporary restraining order, is a remedy that makes the company immediately stop doing something while the parties determine if the company is allowed to do that something in the first place. Here, the company declared impasse during labor negotiations and subsequently withdrew recognition of the union.

As typically happens when a company declares impasse and withdraws recognition from a union, the union filed an unfair labor practice charge alleging bad faith bargaining and unlawful withdrawal based on employer interference. A hearing on these charges was held, and in July 2015, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found the employer guilty of the charges. In October 2015, the NLRB field a Petition for Injunctive Relief seeking to enforce the ALJ’s order pending final disposition of the Board’s underlying complaint. That Petition was denied.

In denying the Petition, the District Court found that the Board failed to meet the irreparable harm prong of injunctive relief. Rightfully so, a 15-month delay in seeking such relief prohibits a finding that “time is of the essence” or that the bargaining unit employees’ alleged injuries were urgent or irreparable. Not surprisingly, the Board’s PR department did not publicize this holding the way it does injunctive relief cases it wins.

Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at