Justia Labor & Employment Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Nevada
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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to a local teachers' union in this union contract dispute, holding that the local union validly terminated the contract and so was not contractually obligated to continue transmitting its members' dues to the state union.The Clark County Education Association (CCEA) was a local union representing teachers and other school district employees. The Nevada State Education Association (NSEA) and the National Education Association (NSA) were its statewide and national affiliates. NSEA and CCEA entered into a contract requiring CCEA to transmit NSEA and NEA dues after receiving them from the school district. In 2017, CCEA notified NSEA that it wanted to terminate the contract and negotiate new terms. No new agreement was forthcoming, but CCEA continued to collect union dues but placed the portion of the NSEA dues in an escrow account pending litigation. CCEA filed an action seeking a declaration that it had no obligation to transmit the money to NSEA. NSEA and NEA filed a separate action for declaratory and injunctive relief. The district court granted judgment to CCEA on all claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that CCEA lacked a contractual obligation to transmit the dues and properly placed them in escrow pending resolution of this dispute. View "Nevada State Education Ass'n v. Clark County Education Ass'n" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court granting summary judgment against Plaintiffs, who argued that they were employees of Defendant within the context of the Minimum Wage Amendment (MWA), Nev. Const. art. XV, section 16, holding that summary judgment was improper.Plaintiff, dancers, demanded minimum wages from Defendant, a men's club. Defendant refused to pay because it considered Plaintiffs independent contractors. Plaintiffs brought this class action seeking a ruling that they were employees rather independent contractors and were therefore entitled to minimum wages. The district court concluded that Nev. Rev. Stat. 608.0155 applied to Plaintiffs, rendering them independent contractors ineligible for minimum wages. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Plaintiffs were employees within the MWA's meaning; and (2) Nev. Rev. Stat. 608.0155 does not abrogate the constitutional protections to which Plaintiffs were entitled. View "Doe Dancer I v. La Fuente, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Employee's petition for review challenging the validity of Employer's offer of temporary, light-duty employment, holding that the offer was valid under Nev. Rev. Stat. 616C.475(8).Under section 616C.475(8), an employer may offer temporary, light-duty employment to an injured employee instead of paying temporary total disability benefits. In this case, Employee argued that the location, schedule, wages, and duties of the offered temporary employment as a secretary was not substantially similar to Employee's pre-injury position as a fire captain. The Supreme Court held (1) the offered employment here was substantially similar to the pre-injury position as to both schedule and number of hours, as well as wages, benefits, and location, and thus, Employer's offer of temporary, light-duty employment was reasonable and complied with section 616C.475(8); and (2) therefore, Employee's temporary total disability benefits were properly terminated. View "Taylor v. Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting a preliminary injunction based on a blue-penciled noncompetition agreement, holding that Golden Road Motor Inn, Inc. v. Islam, 376 P.3d 151, 159 (Nev. 2016), does not prohibit a district court from blue-penciling an unreasonable noncompetition agreement if the agreement allows for it.Defendants signed an employment contract containing a blue-penciling provision providing that, if any provision is found to be unreasonable by the court, the provision shall be enforceable to the extent the court deemed it unreasonable. When Defendants quit their employment and began work elsewhere, Plaintiff filed a complaint to enforce the agreement, alleging that Defendants violated the agreement's noncompetition clause. The district court found that the noncompetition agreement was overbroad and blue-penciled it. The court then granted Plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction to enforce the revised agreement. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because the noncompetition agreement had a blue-penciling provision, the district court did not abuse its discretion by blue-penciling the noncompetition agreement and enforcing the revised agreement. View "Duong v. Fielden Hanson Isaacs Miyada Robison Yeh, Ltd." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that NAC 281.305(1)(a) is a jurisdictional rule that exceeds the rulemaking authority of the Nevada Department of Administration's Personnel Commission.NAC 281.305(1)(a) provides that a state officer or employee claiming whistleblower protection must file a whistleblower appeal within ten workdays of the alleged retaliation or reprisal. The Personnel Commission promulgated the rule under Nev. Rev. Stat. 281.641(5), which provides that the Personnel Commission may adopt procedural rules for whistleblower appeal hearings. Approximately eight months after the Nevada Department of Transportation's (NDOT) fired him, John Bronder filed a whistleblower appeal alleging that his termination was retaliation for whistleblower activity. NDOT filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that Bronder's appeal was untimely by several months. The hearing officer concluded that the ten-day rule is invalid and ordered NDOT to reinstate Bronder's probationary employment. The district court denied NDOT's petition for judicial review. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that NAC 281.305(1)(a) is a jurisdictional, rather than a procedural, rule and is thus invalid. View "State, Department of Transportation v. Bronder" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Clark County's petition for judicial review of the decision of an appeals officer reversing Clark County's denial of a retiree's claim for ongoing partial disability benefits, holding that the appeals officer correctly found that the retiree was entitled to benefits based on the wages he was earning at the time he retired.Brent Bean worked as a Clark County firefighter and retired in 2011. In 2014, Bean was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had part of his prostate removed. Clark County rejected Bean's claim for occupational disease benefits insofar as it sought ongoing permanent partial disability benefits, concluding that because Bean was retired at the time he became permanently partially disabled, he was not earning wages upon which to base a permanent partial disability benefits award. The appeals officer reversed, and the district court rejected Clark County's petition for judicial review. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the appeals officer correctly found that compensation for Bean's permanent partial disability rating must be based on the wages he was earning at the time of his retirement. View "Clark County v. Bean" on Justia Law

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In this appeal regarding the scope of the law-enforcement exception to the "going and coming rule" in workers' compensation matters the Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court reversing the decision of the appeals officer, holding that the appeals officer's decision was arbitrary and capricious in light of the totality of the circumstances surrounding the officer's accident.Plaintiff, a police officer, was struck by another vehicle during his drive home from work. Plaintiff filed a workers' compensation claim for the injuries he sustained in the accident. His claim was denied. On appeal, the appeals officer also denied the claim, concluding that Plaintiff's injury did not arise out of and in the course and scope of his employment. The district court granted Plaintiff's petition for judicial review and concluded that Plaintiff's accident indeed arose out of and in the course of his employment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a court must look to the totality of the circumstances on a case-by-case basis in determining whether the law-enforcement exception to the going and coming rule applies; and (2) Plaintiff qualified for the law-enforcement exception under the totality of the circumstances test. View "Cannon Cochran Management Services, Inc. v. Figueroa" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that service of a petition for judicial review of an agency's decision does not require personal service under Nev. R. Civ. P. 4.2(a) because a petition for judicial review is best construed as a post-complaint filing so an alternative method of service under Nev. R. Civ. P. 5(b) will suffice.After Patricia DeRosa was fired by the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC), DeRosa requested a hearing. The hearing officer reversed the NDOC's decision. NDOC filed a petition for judicial review and served the petition on DeRosa by mailing it to her counsel under Rule 5(b). DeRosa moved to dismiss the petition for lack of personal service. The district court granted the motion, concluding that personal service was necessary under Nev. Rev. Stat. 233B.130(5). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that a petition for judicial review is best construed as a post-complaint pleading and that personal service is unnecessary and an alternative method of service under Rule 5(b) will instead suffice. View "State, Department of Corrections v. DeRosa" on Justia Law

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In this workers' compensation appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court reversing the decision of the appeals officer denying benefits to Respondent, holding that the plain language of Nev. Rev. Stat. 617.366(1) did not exclude the possibility of benefits for hearing loss when at least part of Respondent's current hearing disability was attributable to some level of hearing loss before he began his job that made the hearing loss worse.While serving as a police officer for the City of Henderson, Respondent suffered progressive hearing loss to the point where he was assigned to desk duty. Respondent sought compensation under Nev. Rev. Stat. 617.430 and .440, which entitle employees to workers' compensation benefits if they suffer a disability caused by an "occupational disease." Because Respondent already had some level of hearing loss, perhaps genetically induced, before his employment as a police officer, the appeals officer denied benefits. The district court reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the appeals officer applied the relevant statutes incorrectly as a matter of law. View "City of Henderson v. Spangler" on Justia Law

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In this case involving workers' compensation for "traveling" employees the Supreme Court vacated the order of the district court denying Appellants' petition for judicial review of the denial of their request for workers' compensation benefits, holding that the appeals officer failed to apply Nev. Rev. Stat. 616B.612(3).Jason Buma died in an ATV accident while on a required business trip for Respondent, his employer. Appellants, Buma's wife and daughter, filed a workers' compensation claim for workers' compensation benefits. Respondent denied the claim. The hearing officer affirmed, concluding that Buma's death occurred during an activity that was not part of his work duties. The appeals officer affirmed the denial, and the district court denied judicial review. The Supreme Court vacated the district court's order, holding (1) under section 616B.612(3), a traveling employee is under his employer's control for the duration of his business trip; and (2) because the appeals officer failed to apply the statute the case is remanded for reevaluation under the correct standards. View "Buma v. Providence Corp. Development" on Justia Law