New York Prohibits Captive Audience Meetings

Written by Daniel W. Morris

New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law an amendment to Section 201-d of New York’s Labor Law. The amendment bans New York employers from requiring their employees to attend meetings involving either political or religious matters. Under the law’s definition of "political matters," an employer cannot hold a meeting where attendance is required and the employer discourages employees from joining or forming unions.

In doing so, New York joins a growing list of other states in banning these types of meetings. The law specifically prohibits employers from terminating or retaliating in other ways against employees that refuse to attend such meetings. The law does not prohibit an employer from having such a meeting, as long as attendance is voluntary.

While these meetings had long been legal under federal labor law, recent policy changes at the NLRB have suggested that the NLRB no longer views such meetings as legal. There are legitimate and significant questions regarding whether the NLRB’s policy change is permissible and whether states such as New York have the power under federal labor law and the First Amendment to issue laws such as this one.

The law is effective immediately. Further, there is a new posting requirement. Employers are required to post a sign in every workplace where notices to employees are normally posted, that informs employees of their rights under Section 201-d of New York’s Labor Law, including the recent amendment.

If you have questions about this update or the posting requirement, please contact the author of this article or an attorney at Clifton Budd & DeMaria, LLP.

About the Author
Daniel W. Morris
Daniel W. Morris serves as Partner at Clifton Budd & DeMaria, LLP. He focuses his practice on employment litigation in federal...
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