Recently enacted legislation provides additional protection to employees under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act. The new law prohibits discrimination against an employee who declines to attend an employer-sponsored meeting or participate in any communication with an employer if the primary purpose of the meeting or communication is to convey opinions about religious or political matters.

The legislation act defines “political matters” to include “political party affiliation, a political campaign, an attempt to influence legislation, or the decision to join or not join, or to support or not to support, any lawful political group, constituent group, or political or constituent group activity.” The definition is broad enough to include unions as a type of constituent group, meaning the prohibition applies when employees refuse to attend meetings or participate in communications about unions and unionization. “Religious matters” is defined as “religious affiliation or the decision to join or not to join, or to support or not to support, any bona fide religious association.”

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