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Employee Discipline: New Mexico

Employee Discipline requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Authors: Kim A. Griffith, Quentin Smith and Barbara G. Stephenson, Sheehan & Sheehan, PA


  • The New Mexico Human Rights Act (NMHRA) prohibits employers from disciplining an employee because of his or her membership in a protected category. The NMHRA also prohibits employers from disciplining employees for engaging in certain protected activities. See New Mexico Human Rights Act.
  • An employee may not be disciplined for engaging in activities that are supported by public policy. A public employee also may not be disciplined for engaging in activities in furtherance of the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA). An employee may not be disciplined for making a claim for benefits under the Workers' Compensation Act (WCA), claims under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, or for disclosing information under the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA). See Protection from Retaliation.
  • An employer cannot discipline an employee for being a smoker or nonsmoker so long as he or she complies with applicable laws or policies regarding smoking. See Rights of Smokers.
  • An employer generally cannot discipline an employee for being absent from work for up to two hours to vote. An employer also cannot discipline an employee because of his or her political beliefs or voting record. See Rights of Voters.
  • A New Mexico employer cannot penalize an employee for his or her jury service. See Rights of Jurors.
  • Public employees may not be discharged based solely on the fact that he or she has been convicted of a crime or arrested. However, an employee who violates employee attendance policies because of an arrest or conviction may be disciplined. See Use of Criminal Convictions as a Basis for Discipline.
  • Government employers are subject to constitutional restraints on conducting workplace searches. No statutes prohibit private employers from conducting workplace searches. However, private employers should have a clear policy notifying employees that such searches may take place so as to avoid potential invasion of privacy actions. See Employee Privacy, Searches and Surveillance.
  • Either party to a conversation may record the conversation without the consent of the other parties involved. However, an employer may maintain a policy that prohibits surreptitious recording in the workplace. See Recording Meetings.
  • There are no statutory recordkeeping requirements in New Mexico, but it is a good practice to document and maintain records of any and all disciplinary actions taken against employees. See Recordkeeping.