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New York Governor bans captive audience meetings at workplace!  

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New York Governor bans captive audience meetings at workplace!  

On September 6, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a law that prohibits employers from requiring employees to attend employer-sponsored meetings, the “primary purpose” of which is to communicate the employer’s opinions on religious or political matters, including relating to joining a labour organization. The new law, which took immediate effect, comes amid a wider push against so-called “captive audience” meetings.


Highlights in brief 

The new law, Senate Bill (S) 4982 and Assembly Bill (A) 6604, modifies New York Labour Law Section 201-d by making it unlawful for employers to refuse to hire, discharge from employment, or otherwise discriminate against an individual in terms of compensation, promotion, and terms and conditions of employment based on an employee’s refusal to “attend an employer-sponsored meeting … to communicate the employer’s opinion concerning religious or political matters.”

S4982/A6604 defines “political matters” as “matters relating to elections for political office, political parties, legislation, regulation and the decision to support any political party or political, civic, community, fraternal [,] or labour organization.” “Religious matters” are defined as those “relating to religious affiliation and practice and the decision to join or support any religious organization.”

The new law expressly does not prohibit:

  • “casual conversations” between an employer or its agent or representative and employees “provided participation in such conversations is not required”;
  • communicating to employees about “any information that the employer is required by law to communicate” to the extent that such legal requirement or information is necessary for employees to perform their job duties;
  • “a requirement limited to the employer’s managerial and supervisory employees”; or
  • communication by institutions of higher education to employees that are part of coursework, symposia, or academic programs at the institution.


Next Steps

With the new law taking effect, employers in New York may want to review their practices regarding communicating with employees about religious or political matters, particularly regarding the possibility of joining or forming a union, and consider steps for compliance, including a posting in the workplace informing employees of their rights under Section 201-d.

Proprietary blog of Karma Global

Collated and Compiled by the internal staff of Karma Global with the knowledge and expertise that they possess,  besides adaptation, illustration, derivation, transformation, collection and auto generation for its monthly newsletter Issue 16  of  October  2023 and in case of specific or general information or compliance updates for that matter, kindly reach out to the Marketing Team – /


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