Employment At-Will: New Hampshire
Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.
Author: Michael C. Jacobson, XpertHR Legal Editor
- New Hampshire courts loosely adhere to the employment at-will doctrine, maintaining that all contracts for indefinite terms of employment are presumed terminable at-will, absent some other evidence of a more substantial relationship between employer and employee that comports with principles of contract modification. See Employment At-Will Doctrine, Generally.
- New Hampshire courts will analyze any verbal promises that purport to alter at-will employment status objectively, in accordance with standards of contractual obligations and/or modifications. Likewise, written provisions of an employee handbook or policy manual can alter the at-will status of employees, but only if the provisions comport with contractual modification requirements. See Employment Contracts.
- Public policy exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine are common in New Hampshire, as the courts recognize exceptions to the doctrine if termination is motivated for myriad reasons that may run afoul of public policy considerations, derived from statute or otherwise. See Public Policy Exceptions.
- The implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing extends to both at-will employees and contract employees in New Hampshire. See Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.
- New Hampshire courts do not recognize claims for intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress against employers, but do recognize claims for intentional misrepresentation, commonly known as promissory estoppel. See Exceptions in Tort.