Any employee who is fired because of discrimination in New Hampshire or for exercising certain legal rights may be eligible to file a wrongful termination claim. This typically includes job applicants, employees and former employees. All of these are legally protected from being discriminated against in employment. It is likely to be a wrongful termination in New Hampshire and illegal under both federal and state law if the employee was terminated based on age, race or color, ancestry or national origin, religious affiliation, military status, sex, gender, gender identity or gender expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, mental health status, intellectual impairment, learning disability, physical disability and being blind.
New Hampshire is an at-will employment state which means that most employers can terminate an employee whenever they want and without giving a reason as there is no contract present. If you think you have been fired due to discrimination, or even if you think that you were not hired for a job due to discrimination, you may have grounds to file a wrongful termination claim against the employer.
What are My Rights in Wrongful Termination?
You cannot be terminated based on discrimination, but there are other reasons which may lead to your termination which could still be wrongful terminations which are:
- requesting workers’ compensation;
- refusing to commit a crime when asked by your employer;
- for taking time off work under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA);
- fired for being a whistleblower;
- being denied free speech, assembly, or other constitutional rights.
If you are a victim of wrongful termination in New Hampshire based on discrimination or retaliation for exercising one of your rights, you may file a complaint to In New Hampshire, with either the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights (NHCHR) or the federal administrative agency in Boston, Massachusetts, which is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This is for employees who work for employers with 6 or more employees. The two agencies have a “work-sharing agreement,” which means that they cooperate with one another when processing claims.
New Hampshire Labor Laws
There are both state and federal laws which protect employees from discrimination. New Hampshire is an at-will employment state which means an employer doesn’t have to give a reason when terminating an employee and employees have the same rights.
New Hampshire’s Law Against Discrimination is covered by 354-A: State Commission For Human Rights. In New Hampshire, employment discrimination includes when an employer refuses to hire someone, fires an employee, or pays one employee less than another. It also covers discrimination when it comes to conditions or privileges of employment. When filing a claim of discrimination, such as wrongful termination in New Hampshire, it must be based on a particular characteristic and not the employee’s education or work experience. These features are:
- gender identity, protecting transgender individuals;
- sexual orientation, protecting both gay and lesbian people;
- national origin;
- religion (“creed”);
- marital status;
- physical disability;
- mental disability;
- being the victim of sexual assault, harassment, domestic violence or stalking.
New Hampshire’s employment discrimination law only protects employees in workplaces with six or more employees. It is the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights which is responsible for enforcing and investigating and employment discrimination violations. An employee generally has 180 days after an incident to file with the Commission.
Under federal law employees are also covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits discrimination in the workplace. This covers employers with a workforce of 15 employees or more, but those employees who work for an employer with a workforce of 6 employees are still covered by New Hampshire’s state discrimination laws.
Suing for Wrongful Termination
When suing for wrongful termination you need to make your employment documents available so that your employment status with your employer can be confirmed. Employment documents you may need are:
- workplace policies;
- union contracts;
- termination notice if it came in writing, or a memo of the conversation if the termination was oral;
- personnel file;
- pay stubs;
- memos between employer and employee;
- job evaluations;
- employment agreement/contract ( if applicable);
- employee handbook.
You need to write up the timeline of events up to your termination date. If the performance evaluations contain positive feedback this may mean a wrongful termination may have taken place because the termination is not connected to your work performance. You need to be able to name the person directly involved in your wrongful termination such as your boss or HR or it could even be a client or co worker who has brought about your wrongful termination. Make sure you know the date the termination took place and who was present when you were told you had been terminated and the reasons provided, if any.
New Hampshire employment law has several remedies for employees who have been wrongfully terminated. These could include reinstatement to the job, back and/or forward pay, punitive damages and damages for the emotional distress caused by the wrongful termination.
Before filing a claim for wrongful termination in New Hampshire a complaint should be lodged with either the EEOC or the NHCHR with all the evidence proving that the wrongful termination is illegal. Depending on why the termination took place this could include reports from co-workers stating why they thought the termination was due to discrimination or one of the other illegal reasons such as being a whistleblower or refusing to take part in an illegal activity. Once this has been done the agency will decide if you have a case for wrongful termination and inform you if you can file a wrongful termination claim.
What Can a New Hampshire Employment Attorney Do?
It’s illegal for an employer to fire you for many different reasons. If you were fired as a result of discrimination, or because you needed accommodations, or you fired in retaliation for making a complaint you can file a claim against your employer.
But filing the claim can be tricky. It’s important that when you file a claim you have as much documentation as you can get that backs up your claim and shows that you were fired for an illegal reason. A New Hampshire employment attorney that is an expert in New Hampshire employment law can help you prepare the claim against your employer.
Building A Case
A New Hampshire labor lawyer can work with you from the very start of the claim process so that you don’t make mistakes when you are building a case against your employer. Your New Hampshire labor attorney can give you advice to make sure that you are able to file the claim before the deadline so that you don’t miss out on the chance to get any money that you’re owed.
New Hampshire labor lawyers also can help you decide what evidence is most likely to help your claim. If you have a lot of evidence and you’re not sure what evidence should be included talking with a New Hampshire employment lawyer can help you figure out what evidence you need to prove that you were illegally fired.
Going To Court
If your claim goes to court a New Hampshire labor lawyer can represent you in court to make sure that you get all the money you’re owed. Or they can negotiate a settlement with your employer on your behalf.
Get Help Today
One good reason for seeking help from an employment lawyer is the time limit you have to file your wrongful termination claim which for discrimination is 180 days and 3 years for a whistleblower. Your lawyer can help you file your claim within the deadline so that you get the remedy you deserve.
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- List of EEOC Offices in New Hampshire
- Wrongful Termination Laws in New Hampshire