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Discrimination Based on Refusal to Attend Political or Religious Meeting Prohibited By New Law

Amendments to  State Labor Law 201-d prohibiting discrimination against employees who refuse to attend political or religious meetings took effect on Sept. 6, 2023.  The amendments also require employers to post a sign informing employees of their rights under the various anti-discrimination provisions of section 201-d.  The amendments were effective upon enactment on Sept. 6, 2023. A memorandum from our attorneys at Hinman Straub, summarizing the amendments is available to LeadingAge NY members here.

According to the sponsor’s memo, the expansion of Labor Law 201-d to ban discrimination based on refusal to attend such "captive audience meetings" is intended to “reiterate employees' right to free speech and conscience by protecting them from retaliation for refusing to attend meetings that have the primary purpose of communicating an employer's opinion regarding religious or political matters.”

The law provides various exemptions for communications required by law or by job duties and for casual conversations.  It also includes a narrow exemption for religious organizations that are exempt from the requirements of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000E-1(A)) with respect to communications on religious matters to employees who perform work connected to religious activities. 

Contact:  Karen Lipson,  klipson@leadingageny.org.