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Connecticut Could Limit Employer’s Ability to Speak to Employees

The Connecticut Legislature is considering a bill which would limit an employer’s right to speak to their employees about unions.  The controversial bill would prohibit an employer from requiring employees to attend meetings where an employer talks about religious or political views.  Union concerns would fall under the later category.  Many argue this bill violates employer’s First Amendment rights and is preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). 

The NLRA allows employers to require employees to listen to speeches about unions on company time and on company property, as long as the speeches are not coercive.  The only exception is that employers cannot require such meetings twenty-four hours before a union election.  Under the proposed bill, employers would no longer be able to exercise such a right.  Without the chance to give employees its opinion on unionization in the workplace, an employer is at a serious disadvantage during a union election. 

Another argument against the bill is that it violates the First Amendment by allowing the government to restrict an employer’s speech based solely of the content of the speech.  Such arguments obviate the possibility of a court challenge should this bill be passed by Connecticut legislators.  A similar bill in 2006 failed to gain enough votes, and employers are hoping for the same outcome this time around.  We will continue to keep you updated on this bill. 

Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying and remaining up to date with state and federal employment laws.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.965.0560.