The fiercely independent state of New Hampshire (motto: “live free or die”) is home to over 1.3 million people, according to a 2008 estimate. The Granite State produces just under $50 billion per year, and its economy is dominated by agriculture and machining. Key cash crops include apples, cattle, and dairy products. New Hampshire is also home to a variety of small businesses, textile plants, and a thriving tourist industry. Every four years, NH plays a pivotal role in the Presidential primaries. Voters can cross party lines in NH, so all the major candidates must put in time here to fete various constituencies.
The New Hampshire Department of Labor is responsible for addressing and processing employment discrimination and harassment claims. The DOL enforces state labor laws and protects the interests and well-being of workers in New Hampshire. The DOL’s jurisdiction includes:
- Discrimination. Employers may not discriminate against employees on the basis of race, nationality, physical and mental ability, religion, gender, or sexual identity. When companies use these and other attributes as an excuse to treat workers differently, they violate anti-discrimination laws.
- Sexual harassment. Coworkers or supervisors may not engage in lewd discussions or jokes, demand sexual favors in return for raises or promotions, or continue to pursue employees romantically after requests to stop. These behaviors constitute harassment. Employers who allow harassment or fail to stop it can be subject to legal ramifications.
- Wage and hour violations. Not only must employers pay their employees the minimum wage required by state and federal law, but they must also calculate pay based on standards set forth by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
- Retaliation. Individuals who report suspected illegal activity at work are protected under the law against punitive measures, such as layoffs and demotions.
The office also deals with worker’s comp and safety at work issues.
The Office of the Commissioner of Labor oversees employment specific complaints. It also manages questions, concerns, complaints, and education for job seekers and individuals seeking better safety training.
Given New Hampshire’s fiercely libertarian philosophies, many disgruntled NH workers forego actions against bullying employers out of a sense of forbearance. Unfortunately, when problems like harassment, retaliation, or wage and hour violations go unchallenged, problems persist. Particularly in light of the recent economic slowdown, which has hurt New Hampshire towns dependent on traditional manufacturing (such as Manchester), it’s more important than ever for New Hampshire workers to stand up for themselves and advocate for their rights under the state’s labor laws.
If you have experienced one or more of the above scenarios in the workplace, a “go along to get along” mentality can allow injustices to persist. With the help of a New Hampshire employment attorney, you can leverage state and federal laws to obtain equitable compensation and treatment.
For help determining if you have a case against your New Hampshire employer, contact a local legal professional with experience in employment law. Your legal advocate can advise you on a strategic course of action regarding your case.