‘Misinformed’ article on new law

To the editor:I am writing to suggest your article, “Wage differential,” that appeared in the July 30-Aug. 12 edition of NHBR page 6 is misinformed.In the last paragraph, you state that “under House Bill 1168, an employer won’t be able to fire someone for cause for claiming dishonesty connected with his or her work.”After reading the article, I went to the New Hampshire legislative Web site and read HB 1168 for myself. While I am not an attorney, I do have more than 30 years of human resource experience, and I read HB 1168 as “an act clarifying the definition of gross misconduct for purposes of unemployment compensation.”It clarifies that theft of an amount greater than $500, where connected with work will cause the loss of all wage credits earned prior to the date of dismissal. It deals with the unemployment compensation claim, not the ability of an employer to “fire someone for cause” as you portrayed.You are correct to say that “after September 6, an employer will have to show an employee actually stole more than $500,” but that is if the employer is hoping to prevail in the unemployment claim by alleging gross misconduct.They can still be fired for dishonesty, the question of unemployment compensation eligibility is separate and will be based on the facts presented at the time of a hearing and now stealing $500 or less will not be considered “gross misconduct”. So in my opinion they could be fired but if the misconduct does not measure up to the new definition they may collect unemployment benefits.Bill Irvine
Irvine Consulting Group

Categories: Cook on Concord