New Hampshire Harassment & Discrimination
Most of us are "employees at will" which means that an employer has the right to cancel employment for any reason, whether the reason is unsound or is for no reason at all. Unless one belongs to a union or has a contract to work for a specific period of time at a specific wage, the employment relationship is more likely than not unenforceable. Being laid off or terminated always feels wrong, particularly because its financial affect is generally much more significant to the employee than the employer.
Absent an enforceable contract, the ability to cancel an employment relationship is reciprocal. That is, an employer may cancel an employment relationship and the employee may do the same, with or without notice. The latter is true even when the employee has a spotless employment record, has never been late and has received bonuses and promotions.
Our law recognizes that the world of business is often a rough and tumble arena. Co-workers do not always get along, supervisors do not always possess skills to manage people appropriately, and at times an employee may just not be the right fit with an employer. Under those circumstances a termination is generally not unlawful, just unfortunate.
However, when an employer crosses this line, and they do, the law is there for you. An employer cannot deny or cancel employment because of age, sex, race, religion, marital status, or your national origin. Additionally, an employer cannot deny or cancel employment because an employee is pregnant or has a physical and/or mental disability. Your employer is further obligated to provide an environment free of sexual harassment or hostility. If your employer has a policy handbook outlining specific reasons for dismissal and/or disciplinary procedures they must adhere to the specific policies they create.
The attorneys and personnel of Solomon Law Firm
understand the emotional and financial difficulties people face
when they have been the victims of discrimination and/or wrongful
termination. Through our free consultation, we can help you determine
if an employer has wrongfully discriminated against you or has
wrongfully canceled your employment. We have the knowledge and
experience to help you recover your damages.Private and public
employers are prohibited by law from discriminating against an
employee based on the age, sex, creed, color, marital status,
physical disability or national origin of the employee. "Sex
discrimination" also includes pregnancy and medical conditions.
Harassment on the basis of sex includes physical, verbal and nonverbal
conduct of a sexual nature where the purpose or effect of that
conduct is to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working
environment, or submission to the conduct is either implicitly
or explicitly a condition of continued employment.
Both the Federal Government and the State of New Hampshire have laws protecting these rights. When an individual believes they have been discriminated against unlawfully, that individual may file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission in Concord, New Hampshire within 180 days of the alleged act of discrimination. New Hampshire law does not require an individual to file with the Commission. It is possible to go directly to Court. The Commission, however, is designed to afford employees a faster response to their employment problems.
The Commission does not handle complaints not covered by New Hampshire Law. If the complaint is covered by Federal law, not state law, the Commission transfers the complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission located in Boston, Massachusetts. The EEOC does require the pursuit of administrative remedies before an employee can go to Court.
Either the Commission or the EEOC office will investigate the complaint. These administrative bodies will attempt to mediate the complaint in an effort to settle the dispute between the parties and facilitate reinstatement of the employee where that is the goal. If the mediation is unsuccessful, the complaint will proceed to an investigator who will either find that the claim has merit or dismiss it.
If you have been discriminated against and the discrimination resulted in the termination of your employment, you may be reinstated to your position, you may recover for back pay and any medical expenses, and you may recover any reasonably calculated front pay. The roadblocks to recovery for harassment often lie in determining whether or not the conduct is offensive; for discrimination it is establishing that the acts the employee complains of were motivated by discrimination and not, for example, the employee’s performance or the economy.