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Washington's Upcoming Law on Mandatory Meetings: Essential Updates for Employers

Starting June 6, 2024, a new Washington law will forbid employers from compelling employees to attend meetings centered on the employer's views on religious or political matters. This change aims to safeguard employees from mandatory participation in discussions on subjects like political parties, elections, religious practices, or labor unions.

According to the statute, employers are prohibited from threatening or taking adverse actions against employees who opt out of such meetings or communications. Additionally, the law protects employees from any form of retaliation for asserting their rights.

"Political matters" encompass elections, political parties, legislative changes, and labor organizations. "Religious matters" involve religious affiliations and practices. This law applies broadly to most employers, including state and local governments, with specific exemptions for religious organizations communicating religious matters to employees engaged in their activities.

Employers are still permitted to convey legally mandated information and necessary job-related instructions. They can also hold voluntary meetings on religious or political matters and mandatory trainings on workplace harassment or discrimination.

Employees can file a lawsuit within 90 days of a violation, seeking remedies like reinstatement, back pay, and injunctive relief. Employers must display a notice of employee rights, which will be prepared by the Department of Labor & Industries (LNI).


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