labor lawsSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Robert Peters advanced legislation Wednesday to ban employers from requiring workers to attend meetings regarding political or religious matters.

“The employer-employee relationship should maintain a certain level of objectiveness,” said Peters (D-Chicago). “The use of coercive pressures in mandatory meetings to discuss employer political or religious matters is an over-step of employer power.”

Senate Bill 3649 will prohibit Illinois employers from requiring employees to attend employer-sponsored meetings where the primary purpose is to communicate the employer’s opinions on religious or political matters. Further, the legislation safeguards employees from adverse actions for refusing such employer-sponsored meetings.

The National Labor Relations Board's general counsel issued a memorandum outlining a plan to advocate for mandatory meetings concerning union representation, political opinions and religious matters unlawful under federal labor law. There has been no action following the memorandum, which was issued in 2022.

“With no response from the federal level, Illinois must step in to promote employee-friendly environments,” said Peters. “Labor protections are crucial for safeguarding workers’ rights, ensuring fairness and promoting a healthy workplace.”

Senate Bill 3649 passed the Senate Labor Committee and now awaits further consideration in the Senate.