Discrimination in the Workplace

Section 275:37-c

    275:37-c Use of Criminal Records in Employment Decisions. –
I. In this section:
(a) "Applicant for employment" means any person a public employer or a public employer's agent considers when identifying potential employees, through any means including, but not limited to, recruitment, solicitation, or seeking personal information, or any person who requests consideration for employment by a public employer, or who requests information from a public employer related to seeking employment, and includes any person who is currently an employee of the public employer.
(b) "Criminal record" means information collected by a criminal justice agency on individuals consisting of identifiable descriptions and notations of encounters, arrests, detentions, indictments, or other formal criminal charges, and any disposition arising therefrom, including dismissal, acquittal, sentencing, correctional supervision, release, or conviction including, but not limited to, any sentence arising from a verdict or plea of guilty or nolo contendere, including a sentence of incarceration, a suspended sentence, a sentence of probation, a sentence of conditional discharge or a filing with or without a finding.
(c) "Employee" means a person who is hired for a wage, salary, fee, or payment to perform work for a public employer. The term includes interns and apprentices.
(d) "Public employer" means any department, agency, bureau, or administrative unit of the state of New Hampshire.
(e) "Employment" means any occupation, vocation, job, or work with pay, including temporary or seasonal work, contingent work, and work through the services of a temporary or other employment agency; any form of vocational apprenticeship; or any internship.
(f) "Employment application" means a form, questionnaire, or similar document or collection of documents that an applicant for public employment is required by a public employer to complete whether the application exists in a hard copy, electronic, or Internet medium. "Employment application" shall not include a criminal background check necessary to authorize access to a federally-regulated facility pursuant to federal law or regulation.
II. No public employer or public employer's agent shall inquire about a prospective employee's prior arrests, criminal charges, or convictions on an employment application, unless the public employer is required to screen applications for specific criminal convictions because it is prohibited from hiring those with such convictions under state or federal law. For a position that is exclusive to a contract or subcontract that is subject to state or federal law prohibiting the hiring of an individual with a criminal record, the employer may inquire only about those prior arrests, criminal charges, or convictions directly implicated by applicable state or federal law.
III. As part of an employment application process, no public employer or public employer's agent shall conduct a criminal record check of an applicant prior to the initial interview. An employer shall not make any such inquiry covered by this paragraph and paragraph II except in person or by telephone, if it is standard practice for that public employer to conduct telephone interviews.
IV. No public employer or public employer's agent shall discriminate against an employment applicant based on the racial or ethnic origin of the applicant, including as determined by the applicant's first or last name consistent with state and federal law prohibiting discrimination.

Source. 2020, 31:2, eff. Sept. 22, 2020.