Yeah, this was pretty common. I had one company solicit political contributions for a PAC among all the (many) executives, with the underlying message being now that we have paid you such a nice bonus, here is something we really think you ought to do with some of it.
Yeah, I don’t think it is a slam dunk, but I can see the outline of the argument in the letter I posted, and it seems to say that there was a time when the NLRB thought companies couldn’t force employees to attend anti-union meetings, and then there was a change of mind that led to not enforcing that kind of restriction, and the lawyer for the NLRB says the restriction should be enforced, with arguments why. Probably in the end a court will decide, but it’s clear the NLRB can make that the rule, at least until a court decides to intervene.
Legally, this probably has legs.
Hobby Lobby won their case at the end of the day.
I think there’s a lot of grey area here, where if you imagine the worst possible example that would fit into the broad category of “pushing a political views on employees”, it’s not ok from an ethical perspective… but there are cases which would fall under that umbrella that I would think were fine.
Can an employer force you to vote for a candidate? Obviously not. Can they force you to contribute to a campaign? Obviously not. Can they force you to attend a political rally? For this one, I’d say obviously not, although I don’t know if its actually illegal (I think Trane forced employees to attend some Trump rally?).
Can they say, “Hey, this candidate’s policies benefitted us,” as in the past congressmen would often do things that directly benefitted the businesses in their district, I don’t see that as ethically offensive. Certainly union reps do that kind of thing, and I think if you start limiting what a group or organization can say, you may start having issues where you end up having a system that limits what other groups (even ones you like) are able to say. If you start only limiting what certain groups can say, you start to run afoul of the first amendment.
I’m pretty sure the First Amendment doesn’t cover compulsory meeting attendance for purposes of convincing subordinates of one’s political views.
Correct. But it does potentially impact any government attempts to stop such things unless they are handled carefully.
You’re allowed to have compulsory meetings to communicate all kinds of business related ideas and views to employees, right?
So if you are to say that’s okay, but that it’s illegal to convey CERTAIN ideas in that setting, you see how that could be problematic? Whenever the government limits communication, based not on the medium but based on the content of the communication, things can get sketchy from a 1st amendment perspective.
If it’s done fairly and with no favoritism for any particular political viewpoint or religion, it’s an allowable law. A law banning employers from having mandatory (paid) meetings about ANY political or religious topics would stand up in court.
I think that’s probably correct, although I do wonder if it may still be considered an unconstitutional limitation on the employer’s speech. I’m honestly not sure, but I can see it as being at least a non trivial case to decide.
I suspect you’re thinking of the Carrier rally, but I don’t think that was compulsory.
The fine folks at Royal Dutch Shell, on the other hand, full on coerced attendance at a Trump rally – attendance wasn’t mandatory, but if you weren’t there, you weren’t gonna get paid for that day, even if you were working. And that happened in your fine state of PA!
Ya, Carrier was the one I was thinking of… and I think they did they same thing Shell did (or maybe I’m just combining the two cases), in that they said, “You don’t need to come, but then you miss a day’s pay.”
I did a little googling and lo and behold, Oregon has had such a law for a decade. So it seems like it would stand up.
Well, it hasn’t met this Court yet.
Some info regarding that law:
I’m not sure if anything further has happened on this?
Apparently, the argument against it was that Federal labor law pre-empts SB519, but the case brought against it in 2010 was not decided on its merits, seemingly because they didn’t want to rule on it unless there was an actual case of an employee being disciplined for not going to such a meeting. I’m not sure if there has been a case actually decided on its merits for this yet.
But you can see that at least some folks question the constitutionality of it:
Associated Oregon Industries brought a federal lawsuit on behalf of Oregon employers, arguing that the law is preempted by the National Labor Relations Act and violates employers’ First Amendment free speech rights. The court did not reach the merits of that challenge; instead, the court held that the case was not ripe for review, and indicated it could not be challenged “until an employer holds a mandatory meeting, and then creates an employee’s cause of action by disciplining an employee who refuses to attend.”
Oh, I guess the National Labor Relations Board sued to kill this law on the basis I suggested, back in 2020?
I don’t know how that ended.
I’m going to create a religion that forbids people from participating in meetings about non-work related obligations and let the courts settle which part of the 1st amendment is more important.
Church of Jesus Christ, Carpenters local 1917?