The National Association of Home Builders and the National Federation of Independent Business  filed a lawsuit yesterday against the U.S. Department of Labor asserting that the agency’s new union persuader rule violates business owners’ First Amendment rights, making it nearly impossible to consult with legal counsel when facing union organizing.

The rule is fundamentally unfair because it requires employers to report to the Department of Labor whether and when they consult with a lawyer to discuss union organizing. The unions, on the other hand, aren’t encumbered by any such requirement.

“The Department of Labors’s final persuader rule is another example of regulatory overreach that will impose far-reaching reporting requirements on employers and their consultants and result in significant monetary and legal implications for home building firms,” said National Association of Home Builders Chairman Ed Brady in a joint press release with National Federation of Independent Business. “This lawsuit is necessary to maintain long standing policy on what union-related communications between employers and attorneys remain confidential.”

The Texas Association of Builders, Texas Association of Business and the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce joined the National Association of Home Builders and National Federation of Independent Business in filing a lawsuit against the Department of Labor in the United States District Court, Northern District of Texas, Lubbock Division.

The business groups maintain that the rule violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech and right of association. Also, according to the plaintiffs, the rule violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Previously, business owners were only required to report when outside counsel directly communicated with employees. Under the new rule, business owners will have to report any communication with legal counsel even if the matter ends there.