HOUSE BILL 277
51st legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2013
RELATING TO LABOR; PROHIBITING CERTAIN REQUIRED EMPLOYEE MEETINGS AND COMMUNICATIONS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. PROHIBITION AGAINST MANDATORY MEETINGS--EXCEPTIONS--DEFINITIONS.--
A. An employer or employer's agent, representative or designee shall not require employees to attend an employer- sponsored meeting or to participate in any communication with the employer or the employer's agent, representative or designee, the purpose of which is to express the employer's opinion about religious or political matters.
B. An employer or employer's agent, representative or designee shall not discharge, discipline or otherwise penalize, or threaten to discharge, discipline or otherwise penalize an employee:
(1) as a means of requiring an employee to attend a meeting or participate in communications described in Subsection A of this section or to punish the employee for not doing so; or
(2) because an employee, or a person acting on behalf of the employee, makes a good faith report, orally or in writing, of a violation or a suspected violation of this section, unless the employee knows that the report is false.
C. An aggrieved employee may enforce this section by means of a civil action, commenced no later than ninety days after the date of the alleged violation, in the court for the judicial district in which the violation is alleged to have occurred or in which the employer has its principal office. A court may award a prevailing employee all appropriate relief, including rehiring or reinstatement of the employee to the employee's former position, back pay and reestablishment of any employee benefits to which the employee would have been otherwise eligible if such violation had not occurred. The court shall award a prevailing employee treble damages together with reasonable attorney fees and costs.
D. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit an employee's right to bring a common-law cause of action against an employer for wrongful termination or to diminish or impair the rights of a person under a collective bargaining agreement.
E. Nothing in this section shall prohibit:
(1) a religious organization from requiring its employees to attend an employer-sponsored meeting or to participate in any communications with the employer or the employer's agent, representative or designee, the primary purpose of which is to communicate the employer's religious beliefs, practices or tenets; or
(2) a political organization from requiring its employees to attend an employer-sponsored meeting or to participate in any communications with the employer or the employer's agent, representative or designee, the primary purpose of which is to communicate the employer's political tenets or purposes.
F. As used in this section:
(1) "employee" means any person engaged in service to an employer in a business of the employer;
(2) "employer" means a person that is engaged in business and that has employees. "Employer" includes the state, a political subdivision of the state and a local government;
(3) "labor organization" means an organization that exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of collective
bargaining or of dealing with employers concerning grievances,
terms or conditions of employment, or other mutual aid or
protection for employees in connection with employment; and
(4) "political matters" includes a political party affiliation or the decision to join or not to join any lawful political, social or community group or activity or any labor organization.
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