The Nevada wage law provides protections similar to Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in the areas of minimum wage, overtime, and child labor. There are some differences, and in a case where Nevada law provides greater protection, it would be better to use Nevada law. Remember, FLSA is a floor not a ceiling. The Office of the Labor Commissioner enforces Nevada law. The minimum wage in Nevada is $7.25 per hour if you receive qualifying health benefits from your employer. If not, then the minimum wage is $8.25. However, if you are under the age of 18, the minimum wage is only $4.38 per hour.
The Nevada law applies to all employers in Nevada, except the state, cities, towns , or any office or department of one of these political subdivisions. If the Nevada law covers your employer, it is required to pay you at least the minimum wage for each hour that you work. Your employer is not allowed to require you to work without wages during a trial or break-in period. Wages are the amount your employer agrees to pay you for the time you work, computed in proportion to time, including commissions. It does not include bonuses or profit sharing.
There are exceptions to who is entitled to receive the minimum wage. The following jobs are exempt:
- Casual babysitters;
- Domestic service employees who reside on the household where they work;
- Outside salespersons who earnings are based on commissions;
- Some agricultural employees; and
- Severely handicapped persons, specified in a certificate from the rehabilitation division.
One important difference between Nevada and the federal law is that in Nevada, if you are a tipped employee, you are entitled to receive the full minimum wage. That is, your employer cannot credit tips received by you towards the payment of the minimum wage.
If mutually agreed, part of your wages may consist of meals. However, the total value of all meals cannot be more than $1.50 per day. That is breakfast $0.35, lunch $0.45, and dinner $0.70.
NRS 608.100 allows your employer to decrease your hourly wage if you do not have an agreement or contract. When your employer wants to decrease your wages, you may have the opportunity to quit and collect unemployment compensation if you cannot find other work. You can claim “good cause” for quitting if your wages decrease more than 25% or if the decrease in pay will result in little or no compensation for you, after deduction for work expenses.
You are entitled to overtime pay whenever you work more than 40 hours on a scheduled work week, or more than 8 hours in any work day, unless by mutual agreement you are working 4 10-hour days.
Again, there are some exceptions. If you are not covered by the minimum wage, then you are not entitled to receive overtime pay. If you are paid at or more than $7.73 per hour, you are not entitled to receive overtime pay. Executive, administrative, professional, and agricultural employees are exempt from overtime pay provisions.
Breaks for Meals and Rest
For every 8 hours that you work, you are entitled to have an unpaid meal break of at least 1/2 hour. You are entitled to a 10-minute break for every 4 hours worked, or major fraction thereof. If you work less than 3 1/2 hours, your employer does not have to provide a rest period. If you are the only person at a particular place of employment, or are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, then you are not covered by this provision.
Your employer is required to pay you at least on the 15th and the last day of the month. All your wages must be paid in U.S. currency, by a good check (called a “good and valuable negotiable check”), or by direct deposit, if you agree. Your employer cannot withhold money from you pay unless it is for state and federal taxes, or you enter into a written agreement authorizing the employer to make the deduction and the deduction is for your benefit.
If you are fired from your job, all of your earned wages and compensation unpaid at that time become due and payable immediately. If you resign or quit, all earned wages and compensation, unpaid at that time must be paid no later than the regularly scheduled pay day, or seven days after resigning or quitting, whichever is earlier.
There are times when your employer in the construction industry has to pay the prevailing wage. This is important since the prevailing wage is significantly higher than the minimum wage, and can rage from approximately $20.00 to over $30.00 per hour depending on the type of work.
You are entitled to the prevailing wage if your employer is involved in new construction, repair or renovation for:
- Public buildings;
- Jails and prisons;
- Roads, highways, streets, and alleys;
- Water mains and sewers;
- Parks and playgrounds;
- Convention facilities; and
- All other public works whose cost exceeds $100,000.
This means that your hourly or daily rate at which you are paid cannot be less than the prevailing wage. The prevailing wage applies to skilled mechanics and worksmen, semi-skilled mechanics and worksmen, or unskilled labor. The rates for each classification should be posted at your work site, in a place generally accessible to you and your co-workers.
File a Claim
The Office of the Labor Commissioner is the agency in Nevada in charge of enforcing the wage laws of Nevada. It will investigate your complaint, determine whether there is substantial evidence a violation has occured, and if it has they will try and recover any wages you are owed. If you have a wage complaint, you should contact the Office of the Labor Commissioner at:
555 E. Washington, Suite 4100
Las Vegas, NV 89101
1445 Hot Springs Road,
Carson City, NV 89706
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows you up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for any one or more of the following reasons:
- The birth and care of a newborn child;
- The placement of a child for adoption or foster care, and to care for the newly placed child;
- To care for a spouse, child, or parent (but not “in-law”) with a serious health condition; and/or
- If you are unable to work because of a serious health condition.
If your spouse is employed by the same employer you both may be limited to a combined total of 12 weeks per year for: the birth and care of a child, placement of a child in foster care/adoption, to care for a newly placed child, and to care for your parent who has a serious health condition.
In order to be eligible for the FMLA, you must meet the following requirements:
- Have worked for your employer for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours in the past 12 months, prior to the start of the leave; and
- Worked for a company that has at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your jobsite. For example, if you work at a company that has 10 employees, but five miles away there are 40 employees working for the same company, you are eligible for FMLA leave.
In addition, the FMLA applies to all:
- Public agencies, including state, local, and federal;
- Schools; and
- Private sector employers who employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 work weeks.
Although this is unpaid leave, some companies have policies that allow you to be paid when you take time off under FMLA. Your employer must continue to provide the same health insurance during the leave as was provided while you were working. You are also enititled to the same or an equivalent position in terms of pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment upon returning to work.
You do not have to use all 12 weeks at once. You may take intermittent leave or reduced leave for a serious health condition. Intermittent leave is time off taken in separate blocks of time. You can use intermittent leave for things such as doctor appointments to take care of a serious health condition.
Reduced leave reduces your number of working hours, and is used for such things as physical therapy. Your employer may account for FMLA leave in the shortest period of time used in their payroll, as long as it is one hour or less.
How to Request FMLA Leave
In order to receive FMLA leave, you have to take the following steps:
- Submit a request to your employer as soon as you know you will need leave. If the need is foreseeable, give your employer 30 days notice. If it is not foreseeable, you must give notice “as soon as practicable”, which generally means verbal notice within one or two business days of learning of the need to take the leave.
- You must provide sufficient information so that your employer understands that you need FMLA leave. You do not need to use the words “FMLA leave”, but tell your employer that you need to take time off for health reasons. Keep a copy of your request for your records.
- Your employer may require the medical need to be supported by a certification issued by a health care provider. If so, your employer must allow you at least 15 days to obtain the medical certification.
Once you ask for the leave, your employer must provide you with a written notice of your rights and responsibilities while on leave. It should be given to you within one or two business days of your request, and should contain the following information:
- The leave will be counted against your annual FMLA leave entitlement;
- Any requirements to provide medical documentation, and the consequences for the failure to do so;
- Your right to use accrued leave, and any requirements and conditions related to it;
- Any requirements regarding insurance co-pays, and arrangements for it;
- Any requirements regarding a fitness-for-duty certification;
- Your rights to job restoration;
- Any liability for reimbursement of health insurance payments if you do not return to work; and
- Whether you qualify as a “key” employee and when you may not be restored to your job.
KEEP A COPY FOR YOUR RECORDS
You should also:
- Obtain and keep copies of relevant medical records
- Keep copies of all documents you submit to or receive from your employer
Be sure your employer knows the law. If your employer denies your request, you may want to talk to your employer about the law. Your employer may not be aware of the FMLA. Nothing in the law prohibits employers from providing benefits more generous than the FMLA.
Call the U.S. Department of Labor at (702) 388-6001 or the Worker Rights Center at 1-888-465-6008 or (702) 866-6008 for more information.
Employment Discrimination Defined
Employment discrimination can happen at any stage of the employment process-from hiring to firing. Common examples include: not getting a job offer; applying for one job and getting another, usually involving less pay; not given a promotion or other job related benefits; being harassed or abused at work; having to retire before you are ready; and getting fired. In fact, any adverse action by your employer may give rise to a violation of employment discrimination laws.
Always remember that employment discrimination depends on an adverse action by the employer based on your membership in a protected group. General protections provided by federal law extend to qualities such as your race, color, age (40 or older), religion, nationality, sex, family size or pregnancy, and disability. Nevada law adds sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to these protected qualities.
Along with being a member of a protected group, you must be qualified for the job, promotion, or other job related benefit. For example, a qualified man and woman apply for the same job. The employer offers the job to the man and discriminates against the woman because of her sex. This would be employment discrimination. However, the employer would have the opportunity to dispute the discrimination charge by showing the man was more qualified or some other non-discriminatory reason for not hiring the woman.
Employment discrimination laws apply to employment agencies and labor organizations.
Reasonable Accomodation of Your Disability
Under the ADA, “disability” is defined as an impairment that substantially limits one or more life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.
Employer has to accommodate your disability by allowing reasonable modifications to the elements of your job, your job description, and responsibilities.
The ADA applies to employers who receive some federal financial assistance and employ 15 or more employees. 28 CFR Part 42.103. Generally, federal law applies to any employer who has 15 or more employees. For age discrimination claims, the employer must have at least 20 employees. Nevada law only requires 15 employees or more for ALL claims. Employment discrimination laws do NOT apply to not-for-profit organizations, any Indian tribe, and the United States and any corporation wholly owned by the United States.
You do not need to be a lawyer to present a legally sufficient request for accommodation to your employer. To protect your rights, you should submit a written request to your employer asking for changes to your job duties or restructuring of your job to accommodate your disability. The ADA may also require the employer to allow an indeterminate amount of leave, barring the employer’s undue hardship, as a reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation also may required your employer to provide an equivalent vacant position, reduced work hours, or any other mutually acceptable accommodation.
Filing Discrimination Claims
You may file your employment discrimination complaint with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission (NERC) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You cannot file a lawsuit unless you first complain to either NERC or EEOC.
You have 180 days to file an employment discrimination claim with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission (NERC). These days are counted from the date of the last day of discrimination. If you want to file the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, you have 300 days only if you have filed a complaint with NERC within 180 days.
EEOC’s Nevada Office is at 333 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Suite 8112, Las Vegas, Nevada (702) 388-5094. For those outside of Clark County, the toll-free number is (800) 669-4000. For hearing impaired, the TTY number is (800) 669-6820. The Office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Contact information for NERC is as follows:
|Equal Rights Commission||Equal Rights Commission|
|Las Vegas||Northern Nevada (Inside JobConnect)|
|555 E. Washington Avenue, Suite 4000||1675 East Prater Way, Suite 103|
|Las Vegas, NV 89101||Sparks, NV 89434|
|Phone (702) 486-7161||Phone (775) 823-6690|
|Fax (702) 486-7054||Fax (775) 688-1292|
Wrongful Termination and Retaliation
Unlike some states, Nevada is an “employment at will” state. This means that an employer can fire whoever they want, when they want, for whatever reason they want, with limited exceptions, as long as it is not for a discriminatory purpose. The two main exceptions are when you are covered by a collective bargaining agreement or have a contract (written, spoken, or implied) for employment.
It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you and your co-workers for exercising these basic rights. Retaliation includes firing, suspending, demoting, disciplining, or otherwise discriminating against you for exercising these rights. You have the right to:
- Work in an environment that is free from occupational or health hazards, and report health and/or safety problems in your workplace;
- Apply and work in an environment that is free from discrimination, and file a complaint if you have suffered discrimination;
- Receive compensation for medical bills and lost work resulting from work-related injuries and illnesses (Workers Compensation);
- Be paid for every hour that you work, and file a complaint if you are not;
- Assist fellow workers who are exercising their rights; and
- Organize into collective bargaining units.
If you are acting on behalf of yourself and at least one other co-worker regarding improvement of wages, benefits, or other working conditions, you are protected from retaliation under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is the agency responsible for enforcing the NLRA. It refers to this type of activity as “Protected concerted activities”, and does not require that your goal be to form a union or organize into a bargaining unit.
If your employer retaliates against you, file a complaint with the NLRB, and have the complaint investigated. If you are a union member, contact your union representative.
To file a complaint with the NLRB, go to the office between 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM. If you cannot go to the office, call (702) 388-6416 between 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM, and ask to speak with the Information Officer. The Information Officer will send you a “charge form” to fill out and send back to the office.
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
Resident Agent, Region 28
600 Las Vegas Blvd. S., #400
Las Vegas, NV 89101
If you win the complaint, you can win lost wages, benefits, and any other economic damages, as well as getting your job back. If you have to go to court to win the case, you may also win attorney’s fees.