‘Captive Audience’ Bill Defies Lawmakers’ Pro-Jobs Pledge

A bill that puts a gag order on employers’ ability to communicate with their employees will further drain business confidence from Connecticut and discourage employers from creating and keeping good jobs here. It will also keep employees in the dark on very important issues.

HB 5460 prohibits much of what employers can talk about with their employees at required company meetings. It specifically bans employers, in required staff meetings, from expressing their views on matters deemed “political.”  

"Political," however, is so broadly defined by a laundry list of activities that it would stifle any open workplace talk about wages and benefit issues, such as health insurance, issues impacting jobs or safety and conditions of employment, and local, state or federal action that could affect a company.

Makes no sense

It makes no sense, employers say. Many businesses routinely hold full-company meetings to update their employees on a wide range of topics, from healthcare to business plans to how new laws will impact them.   

These are the bread-and-butter issues about which employees are most concerned and most anxious to stay informed.   

What could happen:

A small manufacturer that’s a subcontractor to Connecticut’s defense industry holds a company meeting to discuss possible federal legislation impacting the business. The owner wants to tell all of his employees, at the same time, what’s going on. He also wants to tell them how they can contact their Congressional representatives and urge their support. Unfortunately, this measure would prohibit that.

Another example:

An employer wants to call an all-employee meeting to talk about safety issues—the company is going to request the State Traffic Commission to install a new traffic light outside of the business. It would be there to protect employees entering the building every day.

Unfortunately, again, this measure would block that discussion.   

Employees want more face-to-face communication to know what’s going on with their company, benefits and even what’s happening at the State Capitol. HB 5460 would be a significant roadblock to those communications and should be rejected.

Discussion

Art Funk

Is our Legislature nuts? Before you know it, we will have to get the State's permission to talk to an employee! Quit burdening employers!

Paul Maxwell

Would this bill also effect the state's largest employer, The State of CT? Or have they exempted themselves from this ludicrous rule?