New Hampshire now prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to disclose log-in information for social media accounts like Facebook. Moreover, an employer cannot require an employee to allow them to be a “friend” if it for the sole purpose of gaining access to the account. This preclusion, however, does not prevent an employer from viewing what is on the public portion of the social media account.
The New Hampshire Legislature is currently proposing in House Bill 361 (2015) excluding individuals who exclusively work at home via the internet for on-line business activities from the general definition of employee in the New Hampshire Statute. The proposal would only apply to “a person who works exclusively at home via the internet for on-line business activities.” Such an exclusion, if passed, would allow the “virtual employer” to avoid paying workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits. The bill is currently pending.
Workers’ compensation and new businesses
By Paul Kfoury Jr.
In the early stages of starting a company, small business owners have many factors to consider. What your business does and what it requires of an employee has consequences from a workers’ compensation perspective. Understanding what exposure your company may have, and being proactive to prevent workplace injuries, can help lower the cost burden of workers’ compensation insurance.What is workers’ compensation (WC) insurance?
In a nutshell, it is insurance that covers an injury that arises out of and in the course of employment.
How many employees must a company have to require WC?
In New Hampshire, as few as one employee.
What is not covered under WC?
Circumstances vary, but these injuries are generally not covered by WC: self-inflicted injury • injury caused by intoxication from drugs and alcohol, assuming the employer did not know about the intoxication • employee-started fight, if the basis of it is personal in nature • driving to and from work, unless the worker is considered a traveling employee • participation in athletic/recreational activities, on or off premises, unless the employee reasonably expected, based on the employer’s instruction or policy, that participation was a condition of employment or required for promotion, increased compensation or continued employment • mental injury/illness arising from good faith action taken by the employer, including but not limited to: work evaluation, disciplinary action, job transfer, lay-off, demotion or termination
Can an employer still be sued?
Except for intentional torts, the state’s workers’ compensation statute bars injured employees who sustained a compensable injury from bringing action at common law or by statute. However, an employee can elect to bring action to recover damages for wrongful termination or constructive discharge. If the worker pursues this remedy, he/she waives claims for compensation allegedly caused by such termination or discharge.
What does WC insurance cover?
WC insurance specifically insures an employer for costs from a work-related injury such as lost wages, medical costs, permanent impairment awards, vocational services, and costs associated with an attorney to defend your company if there is a claim.
Paul Kfoury Jr. is a partner at Trombley Kfoury, P.A., a law firm specializing in workers’ compensation issues. He is past chair of the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Workers’ Compensation Section, and speaks with insurance companies and employers regularly. He also holds trainings and seminars involving WC issues.
What You Should Know About the Home Closing Process: An Interview with Kirk Trombley of Trombley & Kfoury
Tell us a little bit about your experience, firm’s history and the areas of law that you practice.
We practice in areas that include general business, real estate, employment law and litigation. We have a significant workers’ compensation defense practice as well.
Our legal team lives and raises families in NH, and believe in supporting local businesses. Our mission is to assist and protect NH residents and business owners in their legal endeavors. We can help you in achieving security for your dreams and business goals, and planning for your future success.
Check out my interview, What You Should Know About the Home Closing Process on New Hampshire Homes, one of the top sites for New Hampshire real estate, including Londonderry, NH real estate. New Hampshire Homes also services New York homes for sale and Pennsylvania real estate.
Trombley Kfoury are proud to be a Sponsor for the Camp Allen Charity Golf Tournament. Here’s our Sponsor Hole with Chris Masters from Rowley Insurance sizing up the green. We had a great time at the Manchester Country Club.
The July 2013 CLM Workers’ Compensation mini seminar will be held in Chicago this year. Kirk Trombley will chair a panel presentation addressing the use of opioid medication in workers’ compensation pain management programs. Kirk will be joined on the Panel by a doctor and claims specialist. Stay tuned for more.
Stranger than truth….
I’m sure that many of you have had that odd, offbeat case from time to time. But consider these:
An Australian court ruled that a bureaucrat who was injured while having sex on a business trip was eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Apparently, during sex, a glass light fitting was torn from its mount above the bed and landed on her face. She later suffered depression and was unable to continue to work for the government. The court reasoned that if the claimant “had been injured while playing a game of cards in her motel room, she would be entitled to compensation even though it could not be said that her employer induced her to engage in such activity….” The Court rejected government’s argument that to be compensable the employer-government would have expressly or impliedly approved of the claimant’s conduct.
Another court – this time in the United States – ruled that an employer must pay for weight loss surgery for an obese employee to ensure success for another operation for a back injury he had at work—even though his weight (340 pounds at the time of the injury) was a preexisting condition. The court determined that without the weight loss surgery, his back surgery would not be successful.
Finally, even in New Hampshire: A woman claimed that she had bi-lateral carpal tunnel that prevented her from doing any activity with her arms, especially work. The employer sent her for an independent medical examination and, on the advice of counsel, had surveillance of the claimant to and from the doctor’s office. The claimant was videotaped getting on her Harley Davidson motorcycle, pulling it off its kickstand, and driving at a high rate of speed to the independent examination where she put on both of her arm braces. After the independent examination, she was videotaped coming out of the doctor’s office, removing her arm braces, and resuming her motorcycle ride home at a high rate of speed. The hearing officer denied the claim.
“Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.” A. Lincoln
October data from the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services states that New Hampshire has the ninth-highest workers’ compensation premiums in the Nation. This is the State’s worst ranking since Oregon began publishing its figures in 1994. New Hampshire employers pay an average rate of $2.40 per $100 in payroll for workers’ compensation insurance. That is 128 percent of the national median rate of $1.88 per $100 in payroll.