Nevada’s 79th Legislative Session adjourned on June 6, 2017. Any bills that hadn’t made it to the Governor’s desk by then died. A number of bills affecting employers and employees, however, did make it to the Governor’s desk. Here’s a look at the new employment laws in Nevada.
AB 113 – Nursing Mothers (effective July 1, 2017)
AB 113 is very similar to existing federal law regarding nursing mothers. It requires public and private employers, with very limited exceptions, to provide nursing mothers with children under one year of age to take reasonable beaks, which can be unpaid, to express breast milk. It also requires the employer to provide an appropriate location for those breaks, which cannot be a bathroom and which must be a private room free from the view of others and free from intrusion by others and free from dirt or pollution.
AB 276 – Noncompete Agreements (effective June 3, 2017)
Noncompete agreements have become a touchy subject lately with a recent Nevada Supreme Court decision holding that courts should not modify agreements that are overbroad so that they can be enforced. AB 276 does several things to make it consistent with current common law and to also go a bit beyond, in some instances favoring employers and in other instances favoring employees. Here are the key points:
- It must be supported by adequate consideration and be reasonable in terms of time, geographic scope, and the scope of the restraint vis-a-vis the interest the employer is trying to protect.
- It cannot prohibit a former employee from providing services to a former customer or client of the employer if the former employee did not solicit the former customer/client, the former customer/client voluntarily chose to leave the employer and seek the services of the former employee, and the former employee is otherwise complying with the other, valid terms of the noncompete.
- If termination of employment is the result of a reduction in force, reorganization, or similar restructuring of the employer, a noncompete agreement is only enforceable during the period the employer is paying the former employee (including a severance period).
- If an employer brings an action to enforce a noncompete and the court finds it is supported by valuable consideration but is unreasonable in terms of time, geographic scope, or scope of activity to be restrained or imposes some other greater restraint than is necessary to protect the employer’s interests, the court shall revise the noncompete to the extent necessary to render it enforceable.
AB 276 – Prohibiting Discrimination Due to Inquiry About Wages (effective June 3, 2017)
In addition to adding law regarding noncompetes, AB 276 also amends NRS 613.330 to make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate against any “employee” for inquiring about, discussing, or voluntarily disclosing his or her wages or the wages of another employee. It also makes it unlawful for an employment agency to discriminate against any “person” because the person has inquired about, discussed, or voluntarily disclosed his or her wages or the wages of another person. It also makes it unlawful for a union to discriminate against a member or applicant for membership for engaging in the same conduct as above.
Note the differences between “employee” as it relates to discrimination by an employer and “person” as it relates to discrimination by an employment agency. Also, neither of those specifically say “applicant.” Only the union prohibition mentions an “applicant.” These are likely to be litigated issues as time goes on.
SB 253 – Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act (effective June 2, 2017 in part and in full on October 1, 2017)
SB 253 requires employers specifically to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees and applicants, so long as such accommodations do not pose an undue hardship on the employer. It also prohibits discrimination against pregnant employees and applications and, in particular, prohibits discrimination or retaliation if a pregnant employee or applicant requests or makes use of a reasonable accommodation. When an accommodation is requested, the employer must engage in an interactive process, much like with a disability, to determine what accommodation might be appropriate.
As part of providing a reasonable accommodation, employers are not required to create a new position that the employer would not have otherwise created or discharge or transfer an employee with more seniority than the employee seeking the accommodation.
Notices: The bill requires employers to send out written or electronic notices to employees that they have a right to be free from discriminatory or unlawful employment practices pursuant to this new NRS 613.335. The notice must be provided to new employees upon commencement of employment and within 10 days after any employee notifies the employer that she is pregnant. Employers must also post the notice in a conspicuous place at the business. Immediately, employers must provide this notice to existing employees.
SB 318 – In Home Care Employees (effective October 1, 2017)
Current law allows employees in residential facilities who work for 24 hours or more to agree not to be paid for a sleeping period of up to eight hours so long as adequate sleep facilities are provided by the employer. SB 318 extends that law to employees of an agency that provides in-home personal care.
SB 468 – Exempts Domestic Service Employees from Overtime (effective July 1, 2017)
Under SB 486, a domestic service employee who lives in the home where he/she works may, by agreement with the employer, be exempt from overtime. The employer and the domestic service employee may, also by agreement, forego wages for hours spent in the home for things like meals and sleeping so long as the employee is uninterrupted and has complete freedom from all duties.