Update applicable to:
All employers in Minnesota or out of state employers with employees performing work in the state
Governor Tim Walz signed an omnibus bill last month that changes several areas of Minnesota employment law, which we have already communicated about, including instituting a ban on employer-employee noncompete agreements, establishing new paid sick leave entitlements, and providing employees with additional pregnancy and nursing accommodations. This new statute sets unique prohibitions related to religious or political matters.
What are the details?
The law prohibits employers from moving forward with discharge, discipline, or otherwise penalizing or threatening to discharge, discipline, or otherwise penalize or take any adverse employment action against an employee because the employee declines to attend or participate in an employer-sponsored meeting or declines to receive or listen to communications from the employer or the agent, representative, or designee of the employer if the meeting or communication is to communicate the opinion of the employer about religious or political matters, and because the employee makes a good-faith report of a violation or a suspected violation of the statute.
Within 30 days of the effective date of this section, an employer subject to this section shall post and keep posted a notice of employee rights under this section where employee notices are customarily placed. The state has not yet announced whether or not they will provide a template or state-approved posting, but employers can check for the posting by visiting the notices and posters page of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry here: Link
The law does not:
- Prohibit communications of information that the employer is required by law to communicate, but only to the extent of the lawful requirement
- Limit the rights of an employer or its agent, representative, or designee to conduct meetings involving religious or political matters so long as attendance is wholly voluntary or to engage in communications so long as receipt or listening is wholly voluntary
- Limit the rights of an employer or its agent, representative, or designee from communicating to its employees any information, or requiring employee attendance at meetings and other events, that is necessary for the employees to perform their lawfully required job duties
For the purposes of Section 25 of the bill, “political matters” means matters relating to elections for political office, political parties, proposals to change legislation, proposals to change regulations, proposals to change public policy, and the decision to join or support any political party or political, civic, community, fraternal, or labor organization; and “religious matters” means matters relating to religious belief, affiliation, and practice and the decision to join or support any religious organization or association.
This law is effective August 1, 2023, and applies to causes of action accruing on or after that date.
For more information, please see the links below:
New Statute: Minn. Stat. § 181.531
Omnibus Bill: SF3035
What do employers need to do?
Employers should review Section 25 of the bill, beginning on page 96 of the link above to understand the requirements and ensure that its practices are in compliance with the new law. Employers should monitor the above postings page to look out for the required notice once it is published.
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