Photo: Tomas de Aquino via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

On March 7, 2019 the NH Supreme Court ruled that an employee’s worker’s compensation carrier was wrong to deny reimbursement for the cost of medical marijuana to an employee recovering from a work related injury.  The employee, Andrew Panaggio, suffered a lower back injury in 1991.  He received a lump sum settlement for permanent impairment in 1997 and continued to experience pain as a result of the injury.  He experienced negative side effects from prescribed opioids and was issued a NH cannabis registration card approving him for the use of medical marijuana in 2016.  He purchased the marijuana and then sought reimbursement from the worker’s compensation carrier which denied payment stating that “medical marijuana is not reasonable/necessary or causally related” to the injury.


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On February 1, 2019 the Keene Sentinel reported that a Massachusetts construction company had been hit with more than $64,000 in fines after an audit conducted by the New Hampshire Department of Labor. Although the bulk of the fines were related to the misclassification of employees as independent contractors, there were also a number of recordkeeping violations found.

The Keene Sentinel article devotes significant attention to the problems of trying to classify individuals as independent contractors under NH state law, a very difficult burden to meet. The result of the audit and the fines imposed on the business, however, showcase how difficult it is for businesses who typically do not operate in a state to establish a workforce there and be in compliance with state laws.


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According to a New Hampshire judge, “It is at least a jury question whether as plaintiff alleges, ‘public policy encourages a mother to breastfeed her child, particularly where breastfeeding is imperative for the child’s health.’”  For this reason, the court denied an employer’s motion to dismiss a New Hampshire woman’s wrongful discharge case after she asked her employer to allow her to breastfeed her newborn son during the workday.  Plaintiff Kate Frederick will now have her case heard before a jury in September 2019.

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Photo: Georgie Pauwels via Flickr (CC by ND 2.0)

Long gone are the days when employers could prohibit employees from talking about their pay with each other, including bonuses, pay raise rates and/or paid benefits and/or to fire them for doing so. It is illegal for an employer to take any such action under NH law. The rationale behind RSA 275:41-b is to attempt to level the playing field when it comes to pay inequality in the workplace.


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This is part 1 of a 2 part series.  To read part 2, click here.

At the end of 2017, the New Hampshire Department of Labor (DOL) published its annual list of “Top 10 New Hampshire Labor Law Violations.”  While the list does not change that much from year to year, it is a good opportunity to review pay and record keeping practices to ensure compliance with NH law.


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Photo: Christopher T. Sununu
Photo: Christopher T. Sununu

Yesterday Governor Sununu enacted his first law allowing gun owners to carry concealed loaded guns, without a license – effective immediately.

Prior to the this law, police chiefs and local officials had discretion to decide if someone was “suitable” to carry a loaded gun concealed.  Now, if a person is not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a gun, he or she can carry it concealed without a license.  This means that an employee, who lawfully possesses a gun, could carry it concealed in her handbag, backpack, briefcase, or jacket, for example.  Some employees may view this new law as permitting them to carry loaded concealed weapons into the workplace.  That is not true.
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Photo: Mark Goebel via Flickr (CC by 2.0)
Photo: Mark Goebel via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

With all of the focus on the uncertainty of federal employment regulations, state legislatures have been hard at work on proposed legislation and have flown a bit under the radar. Now is a good time to take a look at some pending bills in New Hampshire which could impact workplaces.  There are a variety of important issues being discussed.
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Earlier this week, the New Hampshire Supreme Court issued an opinion holding that the New Hampshire Law Against Discrimination, RSA Chapter 354-A, can impose liability upon individual employees for aiding and abetting discrimination in the workplace, and for retaliation against another employee in the workplace of a qualifying employer.

The issue came before the New