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John Ring of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee during his National Labor Relations Board confirmation hearing Thursday. Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi / NLJ

The National Labor Relations Board doesn’t often get mixed up in notice-and-comment rulemaking—instead using cases to set workplace standards companies must follow. Business advocates are cheering chairman John Ring’s announcement last week that the agency would explore such a move to look at revising the Obama-era joint-employer standard.

The notice-and-comment process—a staple in the federal bureaucracy—can take months, even years, to complete. Interested parties get a chance to provide input. Some agency proposals—and the joint-employer issue could soon become one of them—generate tens of thousands of comments. And there’s always a possible court challenge after everything is said and done.

“Rulemaking has been the exception to the rule, not the rule,” Michael Sullivan, chair of Goldberg Kohn’s labor and employment group, told The National Law Journal in a recent interview.

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