In December of 2017, the Supreme Court of Nevada ruled that employees were entitled to file private suits against employers for unrecovered wages or other wage violations. Beforehand, employees were forced to file claims with the Nevada Labor Commissioner. The law, in effect, did not state that employees were expressly prohibited from filing claims in civil court, nor that they had any explicit right to do so.
The decision came in light of several conflicting decisions by lower courts to alternatively allow or prevent employees from filing suits in civil court as opposed to complaints with the Nevada Labor Commissioner. The Nevada Supreme Court determined that because the law allows an employee to recover attorney fees as part of his or her damages, the framers of the law must have intended for civil suits to be filed.
This is great news for employees who have suffered wage violations at the hands of unscrupulous employers.
John Neville Jr. v. Terrible Herbst
Mr. Neville filed a class action on behalf of all the employees of Terrible Herbst claiming that a policy that rounded credited wages down to the nearest 15 minutes short-changed employees for actual work. Neville claimed that he did not receive wages for work and further alleged that Terrible Herbst failed to pay its employees overtime. The district court dismissed Mr. Neville’s claim based on the interpretation of Nevada law that Mr. Neville had no right to pursue this action in civil court.
A large part of Mr. Neville’s case hinged on the fact that Terrible Herbst failed to pay its employees time and a half for overtime work as required by Nevada state law. Nevada law requires that overtime be paid at 150% of an employee’s agreed upon wage. It further defines overtime as:
- Any hours worked in excess of 40 per week.
- Any hours worked in excess of eight hours per day over five days a week or 10 hours per day over four days a week
Nevada’s Minimum Wage Amendment
Also relevant to Mr. Neville’s case was Terrible Herbst’s compliance with Nevada’s MWA (Minimum Wage Amendment). This amendment states that the minimum wage for any employee in Nevada must either be $8.25 per hour, or $7.25 per hour if the employer makes health benefits available to the employee. In a separate case, however, the court ruled that an employer need only offer health benefits. An employer is not compelled to enroll an employee in a health plan, nor is an employee obligated to accept or reject health benefits on the condition of making $8.25 an hour.
Wage Violations in Nevada
Attorneys that specialize in labor law and wage violations on behalf of employees will now have a much easier time filing suit in civil court. Recent Nevada Supreme Court decisions have clarified the law’s position on a number of topics that are highly relevant to employees looking to recover lost wages from their employers. If you have been the victim of wage theft, or believe that your employer is not in compliance with Nevada State or Federal law, give the attorneys at HKM Employment Law in Nevada a call immediately at 702-625-3893 and we will discuss your case.