Employers and Free Speech

Posted by Anastasia Kinsella.

This article illustrates a lawsuit between the U.S Chamber of Commerce and a Connecticut state law. The law that Connecticut had in place “bans business owners from discussing relevant workplace issues with their employees”. The U.S Chamber of Commerce argues that the law “limits employer free speech, is preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and violates the First Amendment”. Glenn Spencer, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Employment Policy Division, stated that there was a similar issue in California years ago, where employers were having their free speech limited and that case was won in favor of the employers because the U.S Chamber will “continue to defend an employer’s right to share opinions with employees so that employees can make informed decisions. And we’ll continue to stand up for small businesses”.

This law was put into place July 1, 2022, and it restricted talk of political matters between employers and employees. Connecticut defined political matters being “legislative or regulatory proposals and the decision to join a labor organization” which means topics like laws, regulations, taxes, or public transportation, and how they affect a company could not be discussed. The U.S Chamber argued that “Connecticut’s law suppresses important communications and hinders the ability of workers to make informed decisions about critical issues impacting the workplace”.  In particular, this restrictive law would harm small businesses more than large businesses and would make owning a business more difficult.

Freedom of Speech is one of the most important amendments in the constitution and protecting it is crucial to the betterment of society. The reality is that political matters affect all aspects of people’s lives, especially businesses. Employers should be able to freely talk about matters that affects the company because having open communications in a workplace is vital to a company’s success. No law should be placed if it limits people’s speech and that’s why the U.S Chamber sued Connecticut.

Anastasia is a marketing major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2025.