Best practices to comply with new Nevada employment laws
Nevada employers face new obligations and notice requirements due to a myriad of new employment-related laws that were passed by the Nevada Legislature this past session.
Non-Compete Agreements (AB 276)
Effective June 3, 2017, Nevada’s non-compete statute was amended to require that a non-compete covenant: (a) be supported by valuable consideration; (b) not impose any restraint that is greater than necessary for the protection of the employer for whose benefit the restraint is imposed; (c) not impose any undue hardship on the employee; and (d) impose restrictions that are appropriate in relation to the valuable consideration supporting the non-compete covenant. The new law requires judges to revise non-compete restrictions, if the judge determines that the restrictions are supported by sufficient consideration, but are otherwise overbroad. In addition, the new law imposes limitations on non-compete enforcement in cases of reductions in force, reorganizations, or similar restructuring; and contains provisions related to customer non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements. Employers who use non-compete, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements should review the changes carefully to ensure any future agreements will be enforceable in Nevada.
Wage Transparency (AB 276)
Effective June 3, 2017, Nevada employers may not discriminate against or fire employees for discussing or voluntarily disclosing their wages or the wages of another employee. Workers whose job entails the wage information of other employees, such as payroll, human resources, and managers, are excluded from being able to discuss or disclose other employees’ wages.
Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act (SB 253)
Effective October 1, 2017, Nevada employers with 15 or more employees must provide reasonable accommodations to and refrain from discrimination against employees and applicants based on conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth, or “related medical conditions” (“Pregnancy-Related Conditions”). Under this new law, employers may not deny an employment opportunity based on a female applicant’s or employee’s need for an accommodation necessitated by a Pregnancy-Related Condition, may not force an employee who seeks an accommodation because of a Pregnancy-Related Condition to accept an accommodation the employee did not request or does not wish to accept, and may not require such employees to take a leave of absence if a reasonable accommodation would allow her to continue to work. Pregnancy-Related Condition is defined very broadly. Limited exceptions exist for contractors licensed under NRS 624.
Employers must provide a written or electronic notice of the rights conferred by the Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act to current employees immediately. A sample notice is available on the Nevada Equal Rights Commission’s web site. The required notice must be provided to new employees upon hire as well as to pregnant employees within 10 days after they notify their supervisor of the pregnancy. Employers must also post the notice in a conspicuous place at the employer’s business location, in an area accessible to employees.
In addition, employers must be prepared to engage in the interactive process with employees who are experiencing Pregnancy-Related Conditions. In some respects the new Nevada law appears to create a heightened accommodation obligation on the part of the employer and must be taken seriously.
Nursing Mother’s Accommodation Act (AB 113)
Effective July 1, 2017, another new law requires that public and private employers provide an employee who is a mother of a child under 1 year of age with reasonable break time, with or without pay, to express breast milk as needed, and a place (other than a bathroom), which is reasonably free from dirt and pollution, protected from the view of others and free from intrusion by others, where the employee may express breast milk. This nursing mother’s accommodation law does not apply to private employers with fewer than 50 employees if the requirements it imposes would constitute an undue hardship on the employer, considering the size, financial resources, nature, and structure of the employer’s business. Employers should evaluate how best to comply with this accommodation now, so that they are ready when a request for an accommodation arises. In addition, the Nevada Labor Commissioner has provided a sample notice of employee rights under this Act.
Domestic Violence Leave (SB 361)
Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, Nevada employers must provide an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, or whose family or household member is a victim of domestic violence, up to 160 hours of leave in one 12-month period. The leave may be paid or unpaid, and may be used intermittently or in a single block of time. Reasons for which employees may take leave include to obtain care, or treatment of a health condition related to an act of domestic violence, to obtain counseling or assistance, and participate in court proceedings related to an act of domestic violence committed against the employee or the employee’s family or household member.
Employers also must provide reasonable accommodations to an employee who is a victim of domestic violence (or whose family or household member is such a victim), absent an undue hardship. Such accommodations may include changing the employee’s work telephone number, modifying his/her schedule or transferring the employee to another job, shift, or work site to enhance the employee’s safety. Employers are required to post a bulletin provided by the Nevada Labor Commissioner in a conspicuous location in the employer’s workplace.
Update Policies and Train For Compliance
In addition to meeting the notice requirements noted above, employers should update their employee handbooks and other employment policies and practices to reflect the new developments.
Attorney Dora Lane is a partner at Holland & Hart LLP.
On April 1, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak formally issued a “Stay at Home” directive for Nevadans and extended closures of nonessential businesses, gambling and school closures to April 30.