Washington State Passes The Employee Free Choice Act, Effective Jun 6, 2024

By Hannah Opheim
GovDocs Compliance Paralegal
Published May 28, 2024

Washington’s SB 5778 will become effective June 6, 2024 as the state joins several others who have passed similar legislation, including:  

Washington is one of the latest states to implement legislation prohibiting employers from requiring employee attendance at meetings promoting the employer’s view on religious or political matters. Washington’s SB 5778 will become effective June 6, 2024 as the state joins several others who have passed similar legislation, including:  

  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • New Jersey

What is Bill SB 5778? 

SB 5778 addresses a sensitive topic employees and employers may face in the workplace. According to the law, Freedom of Speech is a “foundational ideal that is core to the nation’s identity,” but when it encompasses topics such as politics and religion in the office, it is understandable that questions and concerns may be raised, by both employers and employees. To mitigate potentially hostile situations, SB 5778 asserts that employers may not do the following: 

  • Force an employee to attend an employer-sponsored event with the employer, their representative, or designee if the primary purpose of the meeting is to communicate the employer’s opinion concerning religious or political matters. 
  • Listen to a speech or view communications, electronic or otherwise, if the underlying aim is geared towards an employer’s opinion regarding political or religious matters. 
  • Retaliate against an employee for making a report of a violation or suspected violation of the law. 

It is important to emphasize that this law does provide exceptions for employers. This bill does not prohibit employers from doing the following: 

  • Communicating to its employees any information that the employer is required by law to communicate. 
  • Offering meetings, communications, and forums centering around religion and politics if attendance is strictly voluntary. 
  • Communicating to employees or requiring attendance at meetings that is necessary for the employees to perform their lawfully required job duties. 
  • Requiring employees to attend training intended to reduce and prevent workplace discrimination and harassment. 

Further, the provisions of the above section do not apply to religious institutions or corporations that meet the requirements of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

What are “Political and Religious Matters” as Defined in SB 5778? 

SB 5778 has defined religious and political matters to provide clarification on what they constitute. They are defined as: 

  • “Political matters mean matters relating to elections for political office, political parties, proposals to change legislation, and the decision to join or support any political party or political, civic, community, fraternal, or labor association or organization.” 
  • “Religious matters mean matters relating to religious affiliation and practice, and the decision to join or support any religious organization or association.”

Employer Posting Requirements 

Washington requires employers to display a poster in the workplace that indicates an employee’s rights under this law. Washington has not released the poster, but GovDocs is monitoring the status of this posting and will make the poster available to its customers when released by the agency.  


Captive audience laws are becoming increasingly popular in jurisdictions across the US. With increasing numbers of these laws and other similar legislation, having access to a robust and reliable Labor Law Poster Program is more important than ever for organizations of all sizes. 

This Employment Law News blog is intended for market awareness only, it is not to be used for legal advice or counsel.

Employment Law Compliance Platform
West Coast Compliance Guide

Keep Informed
with GovDocs Employment Law News

Employment Law Compliance LinkedIn Group

What is GovDocs?

GovDocs simplifies employment law compliance for large, multi-jurisdiction employers in the U.S. and Canada. The GovDocs software platform integrates three solutions in one convenient place to help you master the employment laws impacting your business. Whether you manage labor law postings, minimum wage or paid leave program, our products cut through research time, provide proactive insights into the everchanging landscape of employment laws and reduce the risk of noncompliance. The company is headquartered in Eagan, Minn.

Have fewer than 30 locations? 

The GovDocs Poster Store simplifies posting compliance for employers with less than 30 locations across all industries, offering a variety of posting products to meet your labor law compliance needs.