Concord (July 28, 2014) – Governor Maggie Hassan’s veto this afternoon of a bill aimed at bullying in the workplace spared small businesses in New Hampshire from government micromanagement and a potential torrent of frivolous lawsuits, said the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) today.
“Governor Hassan has made exactly the right decision for New Hampshire’s small business community and for the state’s economy,” said NFIB State Director Bruce Berke. “Signing the bill would have been the easy thing to do. She did the right thing instead and that’s great to see in politics these days.”
The bill, HB 591, was intended to protect employers from being bullied at work, a goal that virtually no one opposes. The problem, said Berke, is that bullying is so vaguely defined in the legislation that lots of frivolous lawsuits would have been inevitable.
“The only people who have benefited from this bill would have been trial lawyers,” he said. “This bill would have made every-day decisions and ordinary employee relations much riskier for small business owners.”
Being dragged into court is one of the biggest financial risks for small businesses, most of whom don’t have in-house attorneys or deep pockets for cases that could drag on for months and sometimes years.
“One lawsuit can wipe out a small business even if the owner is completely without fault,” said Berke. “Even if you’re exonerated in court you still have to pay legal fees that could run into the tens of thousands of dollars. This bill would have made that risk higher and it would have done very little, if anything, to prevent real workplace bullying.
“NFIB applauds Governor Hassan’s veto today and her acknowledgment that the bill was poorly worded for future relations between employees and employers.”
Learn more about NFIB at www.nfib.com.