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Senate Passes Coniglio Bill To Protect Workers From Intimidation

TRENTON – The Senate today approved a bill, S-1123, sponsored by Senator Joseph Coniglio to protect New Jersey workers from being intimidated by their employers because of their religious or political views. It passed 34-0 and was forwarded to the Assembly.

“Bosses shouldn’t be allowed to haul their workers into meetings to grill them about their religion or their politics,” said Senator Coniglio, D-Bergen. “New Jersey is part of the United States, not some totalitarian regime.”

The measure would prohibit employers from requiring employees to attend employer-sponsored meetings to communicate about the religious or political views of the workers.

“Free speech and freedom of religion are sacred rights that Americans have died for over the years and we can’t let them be weakened or removed from the workplace,” Senator Coniglio said.

Violations could generate civil penalties of up to $1,000 for a first offense and up to $5,000 for subsequent offenses. In addition, workers could not be demoted or forced to give up any benefits because of their religious or political views and would be compensated for any legal fees incurred because of employer intimidation.

Under the measure, political matters 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.

The measure now goes to the Assembly.