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  • 01 Apr 2019 4:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

     

    REGISTRATION NOW OPEN!

     

    We create the experience so you can make a difference.

     

    HR LEADERS RETREAT TO THE MT. WASHINGTON! Why Senior HR Leaders are flocking to Mt. Washington… We engage a senior-level, strategic-thinking audience in every aspect of the conference. Share time with a faculty that has time to share with you – a cup of coffee by the fireplace or over great dinner conversation. Discover programming that encourages you to think big. Share HR lessons you’ve learned along the way. And take in the spectacular, historic Mount Washington Hotel. If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, we’re ready to roll out the red carpet for you. Visit the Retreat website at http://www.StrategicHRmw.com to view the full schedule. Look at the business case for attending. Check out the best keynoters from across the country. And take a look at the business partners who help make all this possible. 

    Act fast -Early-bird rate expires after June 1. Applying for a mountain of recertification credits! In 2018 attendees earned up to 10.75 BUSINESS Credits towards SPHR and earned up to 15.5 PDC’s towards SHRM CP and SCP credits. To join the email list email Info@StrategicHRus.com. With special thanks to the SHRM State Councils in New England.

  • 21 Mar 2019 2:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As a reminder, SHRM has extended a special promotion through 12/31/19 for all members who join OR renew with a $20 discounted rate by using the code STATE20.use to promote this rate.

    Please note that if a member renews early (i.e. their membership expires in July but they renew now), their SHRM membership date remains the same and the renewal simply adds another 12 months to their existing expiration date.

  • 15 Feb 2019 8:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

     

    Manchester Area Human Resources Association

    February 12, 2019

    LEGAL AND LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

    by

    Attorney Jim Reidy

    Sheehan Phinney Bass & Green PA

    1000 Elm Street

    Manchester, NH 03105-3701

    (603) 627-8217

    jreidy@sheehan.com

    www.sheehan.com

    Live Free and Get High?

    New Hampshire employers watch and wonder about possible legalization of marijuana and impact on the workplace.

    Now, laughing friends deride,

    Tears I cannot hide.

    Oh-oh-oh-oh, so I smile and say,

    "When a lovely flame dies,

    Smoke gets in your eyes."

    Smoke gets in your eyes. [apologies to The Platters]

    It wasn’t that long ago that the question as to whether marijuana would be legalized, at least for recreational purposes was met with disbelief and in many cases laughter. Now, New Hampshire is surrounded by states (Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine) as well as Canada who have legalized the recreational use of pot. One employer commented recently that we may soon, either through second-hand smoke from our neighbors or with legalization here, have smoke in our eyes too. This isn’t just a New England thing, more than 33 states have now legalized marijuana use in one form or another. Employers across the country are now taking a sober look at their policies and testing practices.

    With these changes in recent years to state laws and a significant shift in public opinion favoring the legalization of marijuana, many employers have revisited their drug and alcohol policies. Some no longer ask about drug use at the initial interview or application stage. Others have revised their policies on testing. Others have dropped marijuana from pre-employment drug screens. With record low unemployment numbers many employers, who draw labor in neighboring states where pot is legal, made these changes, at least for certain jobs (not safety sensitive positions) fearing they might disqualify otherwise qualified individuals who might partake in marijuana use on their own time. In other words, employers are often desperate to fill some positions and as long as the person can perform the job as required, they turn a blind eye to an applicant’s possible use of marijuana in off work hours. Many employers simply don’t want to know because once they are on notice they may be compelled to monitor the employee’s work activities fearing liability for work-related claims once they were aware of something that could impair or impact the employee’s activities. This could also compel the employer to test an employee when drug use is suspected. This could cause the employer to terminate the employee’s employment even though there is no legal standard to measure impairment for marijuana use like there is for alcohol. Testing could also result in claims of discrimination (if only certain individuals or groups are tested) or invasion of privacy. Another factor is that marijuana is still classified as an elicit substance under federal drug laws. This is why marijuana has become the new “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the workplace.

    A distinction is drawn for safety sensitive positions (e.g. truck drivers, bus drivers, forklift operators, pilots, medical professionals, etc.) where inquiries and testing for drug use including marijuana is not only encouraged but it is often required. That is why many employers are now making distinctions between those positions and other positions in their policies and testing practices.

    Medical marijuana use has been legal in New Hampshire for a few years but that hasn’t caused many employers to change their workplace policies and practices. Even if an employee had a prescription for medical marijuana use, most employers treated that like any other prescription (employee couldn’t be impaired at work) with one exception, employers still prohibited the possession and use of marijuana while at work. Employer’s relied on their smoking policies and more particularly, federal drug law, as the reason for that prohibition. Until recently, courts sided with employers in that regard, finding that while marijuana use may have been legalized the state law didn’t require employers to permit use and impairment at work. That may now be changing, at least to the possession and use part, as a few court decisions in other states have now sided with employees, as long as they weren’t impaired at work.

    Now the issue of legalized recreational marijuana is before the New Hampshire legislature. Supporters cite individual liberties, criminal justice reform, tax benefits, and the fact that other states have legalized marijuana without serious problems as reasons why New Hampshire should permit and regulate recreational marijuana use. Opponents to the bill warn of the public safety risks (citing an increase in impaired drivers in other states), health risks to teens, increased costs of regulation and an exacerbation of the state’s opioid crisis. The bill, House Bill 481, if passed would allow anyone over 21 to “use” marijuana. That means authorized users could possess, consume, grow, purchase, process or transport marijuana, within certain parameters, without legal retribution. The Governor is opposed to this legalization efforts but there might be enough support in the legislature to override a veto if the bill is passed. In the meantime, because this is an issue employers are already dealing with many are taking a clear-eyed look at their drug and alcohol policies.

    Employers who are revisiting these polices should consider a few things including: where they do business; the state laws where they do business; whether they should have one universal policy or one with state-specific addendums; if they are a federal contractor or subcontractor and the requirements that go along with those contracts; if they have DOT or other safety-sensitive positions and if they do; if they should have different policies for positions that are not safety-sensitive; whether they need or want to ask about and test employees for marijuana use at the pre-employment stage; whether they will test during employment and the consequences for a positive drug test; their workplace culture and the impacts of testing  on that culture and the legal consequences of not testing.

    Yes, these are interesting times. One HR professional, confused by the state of the law and what to do about her organization’s policy on marijuana, described the situation as a “purple haze”. The reality is that legalized marijuana is here to stay and employers need to decide how they want to handle this fuzzy issue. Ignoring it or relying on out dated policies is not the answer. Taking a fresh look at polices is not only a good idea, it may be required to staying on the right side of the law and embracing the realities and the new workplace.

    Attorney Jim Reidy is a partner at Sheehan Phinney where he is the Chair of the Firm’s Labor and Employment law practice group.  Jim is also MAHRA’s VP of Legal and Legislative Affairs.

    Disclaimer

    Please note: This outline is intended as general guidance and not specific legal advice. Your legal counsel should be consulted with specific questions or for advice on how to proceed with these matters. 

  • 04 Feb 2019 8:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Call for Nominations:  Workforce Diversity & Inclusion Award

    Award to recognize outstanding efforts in promoting and implementing workplace diversity and inclusion initiatives

    Manchester, NH – The Diversity Workforce Coalition (DWC) and the NH Health & Equity Partnership are accepting applications for the Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Award.  The award will recognize organizations that have engaged in activities to recruit, train, and retain individuals who increase their institution’s diversity.  Entry to this award is open to all organizations across the corporate, government, community, and not-for-profit sectors. 

    “This award program is a wonderful way to recognize and celebrate organizations that have demonstrated their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion and understand the importance of acquiring and maintaining a vibrant and diverse workforce,” said DWC Board President Tina Sharby.

    Last year’s inaugural winner was Hutchinson Sealing Systems, which was recognized for its impressive efforts to create a diverse workforce and provide opportunities for employees at every level of the company.  The runners-up were Eastern Bank and Manchester Community Health Center.

    Nominations for this year’s award program will be accepted through February 8, 2019.  Candidates will be selected for a site visit, conducted by Selection Committee representatives, with the final winner announced March 14, 2019.   For more information, please visit: https://www.diversityworkforce.org/Award/Nominations

    The Diversity Workforce Coalition is comprised of employers and other community members whose purpose is to promote diversity in the workplace through education, training, enhanced networking opportunities, and to identify and connect resources to its members and the public.

    The New Hampshire Health & Equity Partnership is a public-private collaborative effort of philanthropic organizations, public health agencies, community based organizations, advocates and others concerned with health equity. 

    Media contact:

    Tina Sharby

    603-621-3417

    tsharby@eastersealsnh.org

     

  • 21 Oct 2018 11:39 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Addiction in the C-Suite 

    How organizations deal with executives with addictions

    Jim Reidy, Legislative Chair, is quoted in this article from CNN

     

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/17/success/addiction-c-suite-executives/index.html


  • 17 Aug 2018 7:24 PM | Anonymous member

    Recent Updates to New Hampshire Workplace Laws

    Jim Reidy

     On June 25, 2018, New Hampshire Governor Sununu signed a bill (“June 2018 amendments”) which modifies workplace laws about Department of Labor inspections, poster and notice requirements, youth employment restrictions, and the retention of wage and hour records. Specifically, the changes affect NH RSA 273 (Labor Commissioner), RSA 275 (Protective Legislation), RSA 276-A:4 (Youth Employment) and RSA 279:27 (Minimum wage). 

    Most of these are welcomed changes for employers.

    Visit our Legal Updates Section in PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT > Legal Updates > Recent Updates to New Hampshire Workplace Laws - August 2018

    Workplace Inspections

    First, the June 2018 amendments describe the circumstances in which the Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Labor (“DOL”) may conduct a workplace inspection. Chapter 273 of New Hampshire’s Revised Statutes Annotated (RSA) governs the department of the Labor Commissioner. According to RSA 273:9, “The commissioner shall, at such times as he shall deem it necessary, and without notice, visit the manufacturing, mechanical and mercantile establishments in the state, so far as practicable, for the purpose of ascertaining whether the laws with reference to employment are complied with, and for the further purpose of ascertaining if reasonable sanitary and hygienic conditions are maintained, calculated to promote the health and welfare of the working people.”

    The June 2018 amendment will appear as RSA 273:9-a, and will clarify that “All inspections performed by the commissioner shall be proportional and relative to the potential violations being inspected.” Proportionality is determined by evaluating “the importance of the issues at stake in the inspection, the degree to which the alleged violation involves risk of physical injury, the potential for lost wages, the amount in controversy, the parties’ relative access to relevant information, and the parties’ resources.” A different bill (SB 465-FN) had proposed more strict limitations: that the DOL could only visit a “specific location” of a business at a “reasonable time,” and “after a pattern of documented complaints to the department or known problems for that specific location … has been identified within the prior 12 months.” Although the definition of “proportional” in the June 2018 amendment provides some help, it remains to be seen how this guideline will be implemented.

    Sunday Work

    Second, the legislature changed certain poster and notice requirements relating to work on Sundays. According to RSA 275:32, an employer cannot make an employee do “the usual work of his occupation” on Sunday unless the employee is allowed to have 24 hours free from work in the following six days. Prior to the June 2018 amendment, the employer had to post a schedule “in a conspicuous place on the premises” containing a list of employees who are required or allowed to work on Sunday and designating the day of rest for each.” RSA 275:33. Additionally, each employer was required to “promptly file a copy of each such schedule and every change therein with the labor commissioner.” The statute imposed a $50 file for each violation.

    The June 2018 amendment removes the requirement that the list be posted “in a conspicuous place” and instead requires that it be “made available to employees.” The amendment also eliminates the requirement that the employer file the list (and any changes to that list) with the Labor Commissioner. The change also removes the $50 per violation fine. Finally, the June 2018 amendment would allow employees to work on their day of rest, though they cannot be required to do so. The law does not change other provisions of New Hampshire law allowing certain types of employees to work on Sundays without following these requirements (such as employees in hospitals, the newspaper business, employees who sell or deliver food or who work in certain retail stores, and “employees engaged in any labor called for by an emergency which could not reasonably have been anticipated.”)

    Uniforms

    Third, the law amends RSA 275:48, which lists the types of deductions an employer can make from an employee’s wages. The DOL’s regulations prohibit an employer from charging for a required uniform, but RSA 275:48 does allow an employer (with the employee’s consent) to charge an employee for “voluntary cleaning of uniforms and non-required clothing” and for “required clothing not covered by the definition of uniform.” Chapter 275:48 defines “uniform” as “a garment with a company logo or fashion of distinctive design, worn by one or more employees, and serving as a means of identification or distinction.”

    The June 2018 amendment clarifies that any uniform provided by an employer must be “reasonably suited for the conditions in which the employee would be required to wear one, at no cost to the employee.” The amendment also discusses optional company gear, stating “An employee may purchase any other company garments or items if the employee chooses.”

    Notice and Poster Requirements

    New Hampshire law requires employers to notify all employees their rate of pay and the day and place of payment, both at the time of hire and if there are any changes afterwards. RSA 275:49. The June 2018 amendment clarifies that there is no penalty for failing to notify employees about any change to the minimum hourly rate.

    New Hampshire law also requires employers to post an Equal Pay poster which states: “It is illegal in New Hampshire under both state and federal law to pay employees different wages for the same work based solely on sex. If you think that your employer has violated this provision, please contact the New Hampshire Department of Labor.” The poster states at the bottom that it must be posted “in a conspicuous place.” The June 2018 amendment changes the posting requirement by removing the reference to a “conspicuous place” and instead requires employers to “post and make [the poster] available” to its employees. Apparently, circulating the Equal Pay poster via email or on an intranet would comply.

    Likewise, the 2018 amendment removes the requirement that employers post the statutory Minimum Wage poster  “in a conspicuous location,” and instead requires them to “post and make [it] available” to their workers.

    Record Retention

    Currently, New Hampshire law requires an employer to keep “a true and accurate record of the hours worked by each [employee], wages paid to each, and classification of employment when necessary.” The employer must keep those records for the length of time “as the commissioner shall prescribe by regulation.” The June 2018 amendment sets a specific timeframe of three (3) years. It is important to note that if a longer retention period applies to a certain type of document due to another law or regulation, the longer period will apply. For example, the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security requires that payroll records be kept for “a period of not less than 6 years after the calendar year in which the remuneration for the services was paid, or, if not paid, was due.”

    For municipal employers there can now be more room in file cabinets as HB 1450 changed the requirement to retain job applications and personnel files from 50 years to 20 years.

    Youth Employment

    The bill was originally introduced as an effort to update the law governing youth employment. New Hampshire law protects youth workers based on their age from working in certain occupations, before and after certain hours of the day, more than a certain number of hours per week, and subject to specific work certificates.

    The June 2018 amendment focuses on youth workers who are 16 or 17 years of age. The amendment clarifies the number of consecutive days or total hours per week the child may work while school is in session, which varies depending on how many days of school happen during that work week. The amendment confirms that the DOL has the responsibility for enforcing this chapter, but removes a prior provision that had allowed investigators and truant officers to “visit and inspect” all workplaces. The amendment confirms that each employer must “post and make available to all employed youths” a notice about the hours of work, the time allowed for dinner or other meals, and the maximum number of hours that a youth may work in a day. The amendment removes a provision that could be used to hold employers automatically liable for certain violations.

    Key Takeaways

    Each year, the New Hampshire Department of Labor conducts in-person seminars throughout the state to give employers a refresher about workplace requirements and to discuss any legal or policy changes. At these seminars, we expect more in-depth discussions of how these legislative changes should be incorporated into an employer’s everyday practice. In the meantime, employers should be on the lookout for changes to DOL posters, forms, and notices and to make sure they are using the most updated versions to reflect the June 2018 amendments. Changes in these workplace laws provide a good opportunity for employers to review their own practices, particularly around record-keeping, compensation, and hiring.

    ***

    Attorney Karen Whitley is a shareholder and member of Sheehan Phinney’s Labor and Employment group. Karen is licensed to practice in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

     


     

    What Does the Supreme Court’s Janus Decision Mean for New Hampshire Public Sector Employers and Employees?

    By Elizabeth A. Bailey

    In its June 27, 2018 decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the U.S. Supreme Court overruled its own longstanding precedent and held that “States and public sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees.” The Janus Court’s decision, has significant implications for public sector employers and employees here in New Hampshire.

    To provide some context, in the 1977 case of Ahood v. Detroit Board of Education, the Supreme Court recognized that under certain circumstances public sector employees who are part of a bargaining unit represented by a union, but who declined to join the union, may be charged an “agency fee.” Under Ahood , nonmembers could be charged for the portion of union dues attributable to activities which were germane to the union’s duties as the collective bargaining unit representative, but nonmembers could not be required to fund the union’s political and ideological projects.

    The Janus court, in a 5-4 decision, overruled the Ahood case and found that the State’s extraction of agency fees from nonconsenting public employees violated the First Amendment. The Janus Court majority held in part: Forcing free people to endorse ideas that they find objectionable raises serious First Amendment concern.

    The Court also held that the Ahood Court’s two main justifications for agency fees (labor peace and avoiding the risk of “free riders”) do not pass muster. The Janus Court reasoned that the Federal Government and 28 states prohibit agency fees and millions of employees are effectively represented by unions, and therefore labor peace can be achieved through less restrictive means than agency fees. Avoiding the risk of so-called “free riders” was not a compelling state interest to justify agency fees because unions are willing to represent nonmembers even in the absence of agency fees.

    It is important to note that principles of following past decisions (stare decisis) did not require the Court to follow Ahood, and overruling Ahood was appropriate.

    In providing direction to public sector employers, the Court held that the procedure of extracting agency fees from nonconsenting public sector employees “violates the First Amendment and cannot continue. Neither any agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from a nonmember’s wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay. By agreeing to pay, nonmembers are waiving their First Amendment rights, and such a waiver cannot be presumed… Unless employees clearly and affirmatively consent before any money is taken from them, this standard cannot be met.”

    The Janus court minority issued a lengthy dissent, and noted the concern that this decision could undermine unions’ financial ability to effectively represent public sector employees.

    Impact on New Hampshire Public Sector Employers

    The Janus decision has an immediate impact in the Granite State. Although private sector unions are relatively rare in New Hampshire, public sector unions are numerous and active in all walks of the public sector. RSA 273-A governs labor relations between New Hampshire public sector employers and employees, including towns, cities, school districts, counties and various branches of the State. The New Hampshire Public Employee Labor Relations Board, the New Hampshire State agency which oversees RSA 273-A, has certified well over 600 separate bargaining units in New Hampshire, including bargaining units in all 10 of New Hampshire’s counties. Bargaining unit members include teachers, paraprofessionals, support staff, police, fire fighters, dispatchers, corrections officers, and nursing home employees, as well as a myriad of other public sector professionals and including some supervisory groups. Some of these bargaining units have collective bargaining agreements which provide for the deduction of agency fees; some do not.

    Key Take Aways

    So what does the Janus decision mean for New Hampshire public sector employers and employees? As an initial matter, New Hampshire public sector employers have stopped deducting agency fees from paychecks. For example, State and Union officials have worked collaboratively to notify bargaining unit members that agency fees would no longer be deducted from State unionized employee paychecks. (Supreme Court union dues decision takes effect in New Hampshire, Concord Monitor, July 5, 2018). Leaders in public sector unions have spoken out against the Janus decision as an attempt to cripple public sector unionism, and have vowed to work harder to maintain and recruit union membership. In the long run, New Hampshire public sector unions will likely be incentivized by Janus to further strengthen relations with existing union members and to strategically support efforts to bring about political change.

     ---------------------------------------------

    Thanks To Liz Bailey and Karen Whitley for their contributions to this update

  • 06 Aug 2018 9:51 AM | Anonymous member

    MAHRA welcomes their new Charitable Partner, Liberty House!

    Liberty House helps homeless and struggling Veterans by connecting them to available resources and providing a safe, substance-free transitional house. It is important to point out that Liberty House doesn’t accept any state or federal funding. All of our support comes from the private donations of our generous donors.

  • 27 May 2018 9:15 PM | Anonymous member

    >>Next stop on the

    Community College ApprenticeshipNH Tour:

    1066 Front Street | Room 126 

         Save the date: Friday, June 15 @ 8:30 am 

    PANEL DISCUSSION | NETWORKING

    AppNH-MCC-June15-18 Inv.pdf

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