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Utah Right to Work Laws

The topic of labor unions can be very polarizing. Many love what their union has done for them to keep fair wages and benefits, and others bash unions for impeding capitalism and the American economy. Wherever you stand, it’s important to know the law about unions and union membership requirements in your state.

Depending on who you ask, these controversial “right to work” laws have been passed to protect workers from being required to join a union to get or keep a certain job. Alternatively, these laws were intentionally passed to help businesses pay less for labor by impeding any union’s ability to organize for the better benefits and pay that almost always come with a union job. The crux of these laws are that union membership can’t be required as part of a job in any states that have passed them.

Right-to-Work Laws in Utah

Many states have enacted so-called “right to work” laws, including Utah. As Utah passed the “right to work” laws in 1955, most working Utahns are probably unfamiliar with the benefits and drawbacks of being a part of a labor union.

The chart below briefly outlines the right-to-work laws in Utah.

Code Section Utah Code Title 34, Chapter 34: Utah Right to Work Law
Policy on Union Membership & Organization Utah’s public policy is that private and public employees can’t be denied or diminished employment on the basis of membership or non-membership in a labor union, organization, or any other type of association.
Prohibited Activity The “right to work” law prohibits any of the following:
  • Any agreement, understanding, or practice denying a person work based on membership in a labor organization
  • Although unions can peacefully recruit members including for lockouts, boycotts, or work stoppages, any person, company, or union can’t force others to violate these laws
  • Compelling a person to join or not join a labor or other organization
  • An employer can’t require union membership or require not joining union, nor require paying union dues or fees as a condition of employment
Penalties The possible penalties for violating the “right to work” laws are:
  • An injunction preventing the continued violation of the law
  • Damages or payment of financial losses for the denial of employment or continued employment in violation of this law
  • Each day of violating this act is a separate misdemeanor and a misdemeanor can, at most, can be punished by a year in jail and a $2,500 fine

If you think you were denied any job or employment-related benefit due to your membership or lack thereof in a union, then you should speak with an experienced Utah employment lawyer to find out about your options.

Note: State laws are updated all the time, please contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify these employment laws.

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