Coniglio Bill To Protect Employee Rights Clears Assembly Labor Panel

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Joseph Coniglio that would help protect New Jersey workers from employer intimidation on the basis of religious or political views was approved today by the Assembly Labor Committee.

“Religious and political affiliation have no bearing on how well a person performs his or her job. They are personal choices that should be respected, not used as tactics of intimidation by employers,” said Senator Coniglio, D-Bergen. “One of our nation’s most basic tenets is freedom of religion, and this bill would help protect that right in the workplace.”

Senator Coniglio’s bill, S-1123, would prohibit employers from requiring employees to attend employer-sponsored meetings to communicate about workers’ religious or political views.

Employers found to be in violation of the bill would face penalties of up to $1,000 for a first offense and up to $5,000 for subsequent offenses. Workers could not be demoted or forced to give up benefits because of political or religious views and would be compensated for any legal fees incurred because of employer intimidation.

Under the bill, political measures would be defined as a worker’s political party affiliation or a decision to join or not to join in any lawful political or social organization or activity.

“Employer intimidation on any level is uncalled for, and this bill would take a step in the right direction toward providing more freedom for workers,” Senator Coniglio said.

This measure was approved by the Senate on February 27.

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