New Mexico Termination (with Discharge) laws & HR compliance analysis

New Mexico Termination (with Discharge): What you need to know

New Mexico is an “employment-at-will” state. This means that an employer may generally terminate an employee at any time, for any reason, or for no reason, unless an agreement exists that provides otherwise. There are, however, limitations on the doctrine.
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As a general rule, if a federal, state, or local law grants employees the right to engage in an activity or to enjoy a benefit, employees should never be disciplined, discharged, or otherwise retaliated against for requesting or attempting to do so.
To list a few key examples, state law prohibits employers from discharging employees for engaging in the following activities:
Garnishment. An employer may not discharge, discipline, refuse to hire, or otherwise penalize any employee because his or her wages have been garnished for support (NM Stat. Sec. 40-4A-8(D) et seq.).
Jury duty. An employer may not discharge an employee or threaten or otherwise coerce an employee who has received a summons to serve as a juror, responds to the summons, serves as a juror, or attends court for prospective jury service (NM Stat. Sec. 38-5-18).
Military service. Employers are prohibited from discharging or otherwise discriminating against any person because of membership in the National Guard. In addition, employers are prohibited from preventing employees who are National Guard members from performing any military service they may be called to perform (NM Stat. Sec. 20-4-6).
Occupational health and safety. The New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Act (NMOHSA) plainly prohibits discharging an employee for filing a safety complaint, testifying in a proceeding under NMOHSA, or exercising any right afforded by the Act. (NM Stat. Sec. 50-9-25).
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