Addressing Political Captive Audience Workplace Meetings in the Post-Citizens United Environment
10 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2010 Last revised: 28 Apr 2010
Date Written: April 27, 2010
Citizens United has wrought widespread changes in the election law landscape. Yet, a lesser-known impact of this watershed case might have a significant impact in the workplace: It may permit employers to hold political mandatory captive audience meetings with their employees. To eliminate this danger, and consistent with the First Amendment framework for election law issues post-Citizen United, this Article urges Congress to consider language similar to that enacted by the Oregon Worker Freedom Act Law, SB 519 (effective Jan. 1, 2010). SB 519 prohibits termination of employees for refusing to attend mandatory political, labor, or religious meetings held by their employers. Such a federal law would constitute permissible employment standards legislation and also would not run afoul of the First Amendment speech rights of employers under Citizens United. Employers would still able to communicate their views about political candidates and parties with their employees as the First Amendment now contemplates, but they will not be able to force them to listen to such speeches at the risk of losing their jobs or other benefits of employment.
Keywords: Citizens United, Political Captive Audience, First Amendment, Oregon Worker Freeedom Law, SB 519, Employment Standards Legislation
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