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Lawsuit Alleges NH Liquor Commission Managers Being Forced to Work Sunday Shifts

photo of liquor store
Joe Shlabotnik
Flickr/Creative Commons

Two liquor store managers have filed a lawsuit alleging the New Hampshire Liquor Commission is effectively forcing them to work Sundays due to a workforce shortage, despite a state law that prohibits mandatory Sunday shifts.

The suit, which was reported on by the Union Leader, was filed by Shelly Duggan and Jacob Gorecki, managers of the Milford and Hinsdale stores, respectively. They allege they’ve been unable to find enough staff to voluntarily work Sunday shifts, and as a result are de facto being forced to pick up those shifts themselves. The suit alleges that under state statute, as well as a collective bargaining agreement, employees of the government-run liquor stores cannot be forced to work Sundays.

Unless workers volunteer to pick up the shift, the managers allege they “must work the day him or herself” in order to keep stores in operation. The government-run stores are open nearly every day of the year, except to mark the Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Duggan claims she has been forced to pick up Sunday shifts every week since October 4, 2020, with one exception.

The suit claims a Liquor Commission regional manager has done little to assist in finding staff. 

Staffing shortages brought on by the pandemic have forced the Liquor Commission to shutter some locations and limit hours at other stores. 

The Liquor Commission said it can’t comment on the pending litigation, but a spokesperson added its stores have been open on Sundays for 10 years, which has helped boost state revenues.

The Attorney General, on behalf of the Liquor Commission, has filed a motion to dismiss the suit citing a jurisdiction issue. A superior court judge has yet to rule on that request.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
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