Wisconsin recently adopted a law which makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee for "declining to attend a meeting or to participate in any communication about religious matters or political matters." 2010 Wisconsin Act 290, the law in question, was enacted on May 12, 2010.
The Act fails to define "religious matters" or "political matters", nor does it indicate what constitutes a "meeting" or "communication." It may be anticipated that courts will use dictionary definitions in interpreting the law; therefore, the potential is that it may have broad application. Encouraging employees to attend meetings or join in communications regarding political or religious issues would therefore appear unwise, as those who attend or join may be perceived as recipients of employment favoritism. Employers may even want to exercise care in broadcasting their political or religious views at their places of business in light of this law. It is an interesting question whether it may be claimed that this results in a "hostile workplace."