Nevada News & Analysis

  • OSHA implements new COVID-19 rules for healthcare employers, guidance for others

    The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently published its long-awaited COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (ETS) but limited it to only healthcare employers. Covered entities had until July 6, 2021, to implement most of the new requirements and until July 21 to comply with the rules for ventilation, physical barriers, and training.

  • No cap on noneconomic damages in Oregon employment cases

    Noneconomic damages (i.e., damages for such things as emotional injury or mental distress) are uncapped in Oregon employment cases, the state supreme court recently ruled in response to a question from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, or Washington employers. They aren't limited by the statutory noneconomic damages cap created for certain types of personal injury claims in the state.

  • Making sense of Washington's new Health Emergency Labor Standards Act

    Governor Jay Inslee recently signed the Health Emergency Labor Standards Act (HELSA), a sweeping worker protection bill passed by the state legislature. The Act amends the state's workers' compensation and industrial health and safety statutes to provide automatic protections for certain workers and to impose new notification and reporting requirements on employers in the event of a public health emergency.

  • Carefully handling adverse action thwarts AZ employee's retaliation claim

    Retaliation claims are the most frequently alleged basis for violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the most common finding of wrongdoing, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Often, the underlying discrimination allegations will be dismissed, but a court will determine retaliation occurred.

  • Coming soon to a farm near you: new overtime rules for ag workers

    In response to last year's groundbreaking decision by the Washington State Supreme Court in Martinez-Cuevas v. DeRuyter Bros. Dairy, Inc., the state legislature recently passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill (SB) 5172, amending the state's Minimum Wage Act (MWA) as it relates to agricultural workers and adopting a phased approach for imposing overtime requirements on agricultural employers. The amendments were signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee on May 11, 2021. Long exempt from the MWA's overtime provisions, agricultural workers will be eligible for overtime pay beginning in 2022. And by 2024, they'll be on par with all other nonexempt employees under the Act. The amendments also address retroactivity of the DeRuyter Bros. decision, effectively eliminating any unpaid overtime liability for agricultural employers under the historical exemption.

  • Oregon-OSHA adopts temporary heat safety rules in wake of historic temperatures

    The entire Pacific Northwest region has suffered through a recent period of unprecedentedly high temperatures, even for summer. In response, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Oregon-OSHA) has adopted emergency heat safety rules that apply whenever employees must work when the heat index is 80 degrees or more.

  • Documentation bolsters defense against Arizona earned paid sick time claims

    It's been four years since Arizona's Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act went into effect. While the Act's initial passage created a fair amount of stress and confusion, most employers believe they've gotten the technical aspects of earned paid sick time (EPST) under control. Recently, however, employers have seen an uptick in claims by employees alleging their rights under the Act have been violated and/or they were retaliated against for using sick leave.

  • Anticipating attendance issues, company preemptively fires pregnant employee

    The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) forbids pregnancy bias in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, or any other term or condition. Although the Act was signed into law more than 40 years ago and great strides have been made to allow women to work while pregnant, pregnancy discrimination remains a widespread problem. Just ask the server who was fired from an Arizona eatery because the owner couldn't "have a big fat pregnant woman working in my restaurant" (for more details, see my November 2017 article in Arizona Employment Law Letter). Sadly, pregnancy bias still presents itself in other blatant forms. How so, you ask? Read on.

  • EBSA releases model notices for 100% COBRA premium subsidy

    The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) provides a 100% federal subsidy for COBRA premiums from April 1 through September 30, 2021, for certain COBRA participants known as assistance-eligible individuals (AEIs). We recently outlined the key ARPA provisions and flagged many open questions about how employers and plans should implement and ensure compliance with the new requirements (see "ARPA offering 100% COBRA subsidy through September 2021" in our June 2021 issue). Subsequently, the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) issued clarifying guidance about the subsidies as well as a companion notice. Collectively, the guidance helps to resolve some questions, but not all. We expect additional guidance to be issued soon by the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department.

  • Alaska Supreme Court lowers burden of proof for Wage and Hour Act exemptions

    Reversing long-standing precedent, the Alaska Supreme Court recently lowered the burden of proof employers must meet to establish an exemption under the Alaska Wage and Hour Act (AWHA). The court held employers must prove the employee fits within an exemption by a preponderance of the evidence, rather than the far-higher threshold it had long applied. Also, state courts will more broadly interpret AWHA exemptions that are identical to those under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), potentially leading to their increased application.