Just when you thought all the really bad ideas were coming out of Washington D.C. these days, our friends in the State House have gone and passed the House Bill No. 4467 entitled the “Worker Freedom Act.”   The summary of the bill says it is a bill to establish the right of employees to pursue “employment free from religious and political indoctrination; . . .” Ok, that sounds all right.  Certainly one of the bedrock principles of this country is the right of every individual to believe and practice what ever religion that individual thinks is best and right for them.  So, a bill to ensure religious freedom should be OK.  Wait a second.  Don’t we already have at least 2 of those?  It seems to me that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal statute that applies to employers with 15 or more employees already prohibits discrimination based on religion.  And for those of you in Michigan who don’t have 15 employees, don’t we have the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, also a law that prohibits discrimination based on religion?  Why yes we do.  So what’s up?  Well let’s just take a nice close look at this Bill.  The bill says: “Except as necessary to comply with another law . . .  an employer or an employer’s agent, representative, or designee shall not require its employee to attend an employer-sponsored meeting or participate in any communication with the employer or its agent or representative if the primary purpose is to communicate the employer’s opinion about religious or political matters.”  Still, what is the problem?  This just means I can’t force employees to listen to me speak on religious or political matters, right?  Well, not so fast my friend.  Let’s look at the definition of “political matter.”  (d) “Political matters” includes political party affiliation or the decision to join or not join any lawful political, social or community group or activity or ANY LABOR ORGINIZATION.”   Wow, joining a labor organization is a political matter and I can’t give my opinion on that?   So, anybody still think this is not such a bad thing?  I’ll bet these are the same people who think the Employee Free Choice Act really gives employees a free choice?  Speaking of the EFCA, wonder how these two bills are going to work together?   Not only will you not get the benefit of a secret ballot election, but you won’t be able to tell your employees how you feel about them joining a union or what the union will do to them.  Nice.


This Bill passed the House on a pretty much straight party line vote with only 1 Republican voting for it.  We will keep an eye on it.