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Recent New Hampshire Laws Target Internet Access and Charitable Giving by Employees

Are your employees using the internet at work to look for a new job on LinkedIn or e-mailing friends and relatives about their current job stress? Or would you like to know what job applicants are saying about their interviews on Facebook?

As tempting as it might be, a New Hampshire law (RSA 275:72) recently made it unlawful to request or require that employees or job applicants disclose their login information or lower their privacy settings on any electronic mail or personal account.

Bottom line: You can’t have access to their LinkedIn, Facebook, or other social media accounts. Make sure that you review your Employee Handbook or Guide to find out if your computer, e-mail, communication, and internet policies comply with this new law.

By the way, similar bills have been proposed in Congress. New Hampshire is merely ahead of the federal government on this issue.

HR Compliance 101 can review your Employee Handbook or Guide to make sure that all your stated policies are in compliance with State, Federal, and OSHA regulations for your specific industry.

One of those policies is of particular interest to charitable organizations. New Hampshire House Bill 1334 now permits charitable organizations to withhold from employee wages for voluntary contributions to the organization when the employee has given his or her written approval.  This is an addition to other legal deductions from wages that were previously permitted.

The charitable organization’s tax or payroll person can confirm whether the voluntary contributions are legal, from both a state and federal perspective.

But note especially the words “voluntary” and “written approval.” Any sort of pressure on employees to contribute to charitable organizations—even a friendly “reward” for donors—can affect morale, may be seen as coercion, and may lead to complaints.

New posters may be issued due to these legislative changes.  One good reason to pin up these posters is to prevent misunderstandings by employees about the legality of company policies. Another good reason is that the posters clarify how the requirements apply to you and your company. HR Compliance 101 provides posters for free and lets you know where to obtain free posters. But if you have any question about the new laws (or old ones), please email me personally.

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