Justia Labor & Employment Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Nevada
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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court awarding attorney fees in a wrongful termination suit, holding that because Plaintiff's wrongful termination claim rested on a novel yet arguable construction of the limitations period the district court should not have awarded attorney fees pursuant to Nev. Rev. Stat. 18.010(2)(b). Plaintiff filed her complaint alleging wrongful termination more than two years after she was terminated. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the two-year statute of limitations under Nev. Rev. Stat. 11.190(4)(e) applied and that the wrongful termination period had expired. The district court granted the motion to dismiss and awarded Defendant attorney fees and costs. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) the district court properly dismissed the complaint as time-barred; but (2) because this Court has not previously addressed the appropriate limitations period for a wrongful termination claim, Plaintiff's argument presented a matter of first impression, and therefore, the district court should not have awarded attorney fees on the basis that Plaintiff's claim was untimely filed and thus groundless under Nev. Rev. Stat. 18.010(2)(b). View "Patush v. Las Vegas Bistro" on Justia Law

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In this claim for workers' compensation benefits the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the district court affirming the appeals officer's decisions as to compensability and liability and reversing as to the award amount, holding that the liability determination and award amount determination were improper. Plaintiff sought benefits after her husband died as a result of heart disease. The decedent's former employer and its former insurer denied benefits. The appeals officer reversed, concluding that the decedent's death was caused by a compensable occupational heart disease, that his employer was liable as the self-insurer, and that the amount of the claim was based on the decedent's income from his private employer at the time of death. The district court reversed in part, concluding that the award should be based on the decedent's wages on the date of disablement, or death, which were zero. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) the last injurious exposure rule determines the liable insurer for an occupational disease claim that arose out of and in the course of employment even if the employee no longer works for that employer; and (2) death benefits should have been based on the decedent's wages at the time he last worked for the employer. View "Demaranville v. Employers Insurance Co. of Nevada" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted the City of Mesquite's petition and issued a writ of mandamus instructing the district court to vacate its order denying the City's motion to dismiss a local government employee's complaint alleging both that the employer breached a collective bargaining agreement and that the union breached its duty of fair representation, holding that there was not basis to allow the employee to proceed on the fair-representation claim in the district court. In denying the City's motion to dismiss the district court applied the six-year statute of limitations for contract claims. The City appealed, arguing that the claims were subject to a six-month limitations period under Nevada's Local Government Employee-Management Relations Act (EMRA) and federal labor law. The Supreme Court granted the City's petition for a writ of mandamus without reaching the statute of limitations questions, holding that there is no private cause of action to enforce a claim against a union for breach of the duty of fair representation in the first instance, but rather, the EMRA affords a local government employee an administrative process to bring such a claim. View "City of Mesquite v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court granting judicial review of the decision of the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration Review Board to overturn a workplace safety citation on the basis that Employer lacked knowledge of the violative conduct, holding that the Review Board properly overturned the citation for lack of Employer knowledge. Employer challenged a citation issued for a workplace safety violation based on violative conduct of a supervisor, arguing that Employer did not have actual knowledge of the violative conduct or that the supervisor's violative conduct was foreseeable under the circumstances presented. The Review Board held a hearing on Employer's complaint and concluded that Respondent, Nevada's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (NOSHA), failed to demonstrate a violation of OSHA law. The district court reversed the order, holding that the Review Board lacked sufficient evidence to support its factual findings and legal conclusions. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that substantial evidence supported the Review Board's conclusion that NOSHA failed to demonstrate Employer's knowledge of the violative conduct at issue in this case. View "Original Roofing Co. v. Chief Administrative Officer of Occupational Safety & Health Administration" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court's denial of the petition filed by the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) seeking judicial review of a hearing officer's decision to reinstate Brian Ludwick's employment after NDOC terminated Ludwick for a first-time offense, holding that the hearing officer committed legal error in relying on an invalid regulation to set aside Ludwick's termination. The Supreme Court remanded the case, holding (1) the hearing officer erred in relying on a regulation that the State Personnel Commission had not approved as statutorily required; and (2) in light of O'Keefe v. State, Department of Motor Vehicles, 431 P.3d 350 (Nev. 2018), the hearing officer did not properly consider whether Ludwick's actions constituted violations of the valid regulations NDOC charged him with violating and, if so, whether those violations warranted termination as a first-time disciplinary measure. View "State, Department of Corrections v. Ludwick" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's denial of the City of Reno's petition for judicial review of an appeals officer's decision that the City was not entitled to reduce Respondent's lump sum permanent partial disability (PPD) payment, holding that there is no legal basis to justify a workers' compensation insurer's reduction of the twenty-five-percent lump sum payment limit for an employee's PPD award. An injured employee may elect to receive a lump sum payment for a PPD award, but if the employee's PPD rating exceeds a twenty-five percent whole person impairment (WPI), the employee may only elect to receive a lump sum payment for up to twenty-five percent of the rating. Respondent suffered three industrial injuries. With respect to Respondent's third PPD payment, the City offered Respondent an eighteen-percent lump sum payment, believing it could deduct Respondent's two previous PPD lump sum payments from the twenty-five percent limit. A hearing officer found that the City erred. An appeals officer affirmed and district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the appeals officer correctly determined that Respondent was entitled to a lump sum payment for the first twenty-five percent of her most recent WPI rating and PPD award with the remaining eight percent to be paid in installments. View "City of Reno v. Yturbide" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that the Labor Commissioner properly determined that the “repair” portion of a maintenance contract is a public work project under Nev. Rev. Stat. 338.010(15), even if the contract is predominantly for maintenance, and is thus not exempt from prevailing wage requirements. This case involved a maintenance contract for an airport shuttle system. The Labor Commissioner determined in this case that because a portion of the work under the contract in this case was repair work, that work was a “public work” project under the statute and thus subject to prevailing wage requirements. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Labor Commissioner properly determined that twenty percent of the work involved repair rather than maintenance and was thus subject to the prevailing wage, and no exceptions applied that would allow Appellant to forego paying prevailing wages on that portion of the contract. View "Bombardier Transportation (Holdings) USA, Inc. v. Nevada Labor Commissioner" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order granting a petition for review of a decision of a hearing officer to reinstate a classified employee after that employee was terminated by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), holding that the hearing officer applied the wrong standard of review. After the DMV terminated the employee’s employment for disciplinary reasons, the employee requested a hearing to challenge the decision. The hearing officer reversed the DMV’s decision to terminate the employee and recommended the lesser discipline of a suspension. The district court granted the DMV’s petition for judicial review and set aside the hearing officer’s decision. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) whether the employee violated a law or regulation is reviewed de novo, but the agency’s decision to terminate the employee is entitled to deference; and (2) the hearing officer did not apply that deferential standard in this case. View "O’Keefe v. State, Department of Motor Vehicles" on Justia Law

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At issue was the correct interpretation of Nev. Rev. Stat. 616B.578, under which an employer may qualify for reimbursement on a workers’ compensation claim if the employer proves that it retained its employee after requiring knowledge of the employee’s permanent physical impairment and before a subsequent injury occurs. After noting that the statutory definition of a “permanent physical impairment” must support a rating of permanent impairment of six percent or more of the whole person the Supreme Court held (1) section 616B.578 requires an employer to prove that it had knowledge of a preexisting permanent physical impairment that would support a rating of at least six percent whole person impairment; (2) the statute cannot be reasonably interpreted to require knowledge of a specific medical diagnosis for an employer to successfully seek reimbursement; and (3) in the instant case, because it was unclear whether the employer knew of any permanent condition that hindered the employee’s employment and whether it could be fairly and reasonably inferred from the record that the employer knew of the employee’s preexisting physical impairment supporting a rating of at least six percent whole person impairment, this matter must be remanded for further proceedings. View "North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District v. Board of Administration of Subsequent Injury Account for Associations of Self-Insured Public or Private Employers" on Justia Law

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In this dispute between two labor unions over which entity has the right to represent Clark County School District employees as the exclusive bargaining representative, the Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court concluding that the Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board exceeded its statutory authority by ordering a second, discretionary, runoff election with a different vote-counting standard, holding that the Board incorrectly interpreted the governing statute and regulation. In the three elections that have occurred since the dispute in this case arose, the challenging union secured a majority of the votes cast but failed to secure a majority of the members of the bargaining unit. After the last election, the Board deemed the challenging union the winner of the election because the union obtained a majority of the votes cast. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order granting the petition for judicial review, holding (1) the vote-counting standard mandated by Nev. Rev. Stat. 288.160 and Nevada Administrative Code 288.110 is a majority of the members of the bargaining unit and not simply a majority of the votes cast; and (2) therefore, the Board’s interpretation of section 288.160(4) and 288.110 as allowing for the use of a majority-of-the-votes cast standard at the runoff election was improper. View "State, Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board v. Education Support Employees Ass’n" on Justia Law