Just when employees need and want more information about their jobs, benefits, and the economy, the General Assembly could soon block them from getting it.

The state Senate this week approved a bill that strictly limits employees’ communication with the very people who can provide the most direct and reliable source of information about their jobs and benefits—their employers.

Incredibly ill-timed, SB-365, the so-called “captive audience bill,” is a bad precedent for employers who need to communicate important information to their employees. Forbidden subjects at required company meetings would include a variety of topics considered “political.”

The legislative definition of “political” and its broad interpretation is what makes the bill so dangerous. It actually would include issues about which employees are most worried and most interested. For example, matters covered by a collective bargaining agreement—such as wages, employee benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment would be forbidden—as would issues related to government operations and politics.

It’s amazing to think that in this time of job turbulence, legislators would block employers from talking with their employees about these critically important issues. Also in the forbidden category would be information about community organizations and activities, such as the Red Cross, United Way or even “Save Our Subs” campaigns.

Limiting employers’ right to talk openly with their employees is yet another clear signal that Connecticut is unfriendly to businesses—a very risky message to send when many companies are struggling to stay open and hold onto jobs here.

SB-365 now goes to the House, but the business community is urging state representatives to reject the proposal. For more information, contact CBIA’s Kia Murrell at 860-244-1931 or kia.murrell@cbia.com.