Employer Liability: New Hampshire
Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.
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Author: Diana K. Wieland, Sheehan Phinney
- Public employers have liability under the New Hampshire public employer labor relations law for violations of unfair labor practice charges. See Liability and Remedies.
- New Hampshire does not have a stand-alone arbitration statute that applies to union/employee-employer disputes. See Liability and Remedies.
Liability and Remedies
New Hampshire employers in the public sector may be liable for violations of the law on public bargaining. Public employers include the state and political subdivisions; the judicial branch, commissions, agencies and authorities; the university system; and quasi-public corporations.
Under RSA 273-A:5,I, a public employer may not do the following:
- Restrain, coerce or otherwise interfere with its employees in the exercise of the rights conferred by the law;
- Dominate or interfere in the formation or administration of any employee organization;
- Discriminate in the hiring or tenure, or the terms and conditions of employment of its employees for the purpose of encouraging or discouraging membership in any employee organization;
- Discharge or otherwise discriminate against any employee because he has filed a complaint, affidavit or petition, or given information or testimony under this chapter;
- Refuse to negotiate in good faith with the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit, including the failure to submit to the legislative body any cost item agreed upon in negotiations;
- Invoke a lockout;
- Fail to comply with the statute;
- Breach a collective bargaining agreement; or
- Make any law or regulation, or adopt any rule relative to the terms and conditions of employment that would invalidate any portion of an agreement entered into by the public employer making or adopting such law, regulation or rule.
Depending on the violation, the Public Employee Labor Relations Board (PELRB) may issue a cease and desist order; order reinstatement of an employee with back pay; require periodic reporting of compliance; order payment of the costs incurred by a party negotiating in good faith in negotiations where the other party has not; order a policy changed and employees paid for any losses; or order other relief the board deems necessary.
Thus, if the employer terminates an employee because of his union activity, the PELRB can order reinstatement and back pay. If the employer fails to bargain in good faith, it can order the employer to cease doing so and pay costs of the union. If the employer interferes with employees' rights where there is no financial loss to the employees, the PELRB would order a cease and desist order. Other remedies may be to order the employer to return to a prior practice, if it changed a practice without bargaining. And, as part of its remedy, PELRB can order the employer to report compliance to it.
Both private and public employers may have liability as a result of an arbitrator's ruling. Many collective bargaining agreements require arbitration of labor disputes between the employer and union. An arbitrator is authorized to provide the following remedies: back pay and benefits, reinstatement and other remedies that return the parties to a prior position before the violation of the contract. New Hampshire does not have a statute on arbitration of disputes between employees and employers.
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