On June 2, 2017, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed the Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act (the “Act”) into law. Some of its provisions became effective immediately. The rest take effect on October 1, 2017. Regardless of the date, your business has just been impacted by additional rules mandating your treatment of employees.

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As you are aware, Gordon Law has previously provided information on Nevada’s laws concerning covenants not to compete. (Please see http://gordonlawlv.com/id-tell-id-kill-sue-disclosing-trade-secrets-best-way-protect-business-trade-secrets/#.WT2gIGjyvD4.) However, at the eleventh hour, the Nevada Legislature has made material changes to the manner in which you can protect your business from competition from former employees.

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One of the areas in which Gordon Law assists its clients is identifying problems before they occur and then either preventing or minimizing them once they do occur. You can practice this important lesson by including a dispute resolution clause in all of your contracts. If you do not have such a clause, the only forum to resolve your differences will be in a courtroom through litigation. Litigation is time-consuming and expensive. In Las Vegas, it can take up to three years, on average, for a case to get to trial.

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Each and every day, in a multitude of ways, we all negotiate. Whether you are negotiating with your spouse, your child, your coworker or on a multimillion dollar contract, your mind goes through similar processes. Ultimately, you want a specific reaction or response and you have to engage in give-and-take to achieve it. Oftentimes, you do not get precisely what you want, but ideally you get the result with which you can live. 

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As an employer you need to be continually attentive that you are not running afoul of discrimination laws. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. The federal laws apply holistically in your employment practices, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages and benefits.

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When I was a little girl, I learned my most valuable lessons from the radio. When Neil Sedaka sang the words about breaking up, I believed him. Although he was singing about personal relationships, the message holds true for your relationship with an employee. If it’s time to let the employee go, you need to make sure you don’t make it harder for your business by incurring liability.

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Do you have an employee manual? Do you need one? Let me start to answer that question by stating that if you have an employee manual, you need to abide by it. It is by far preferable to have nothing than to have a manual that you neglect to follow. In the event there are provisions you do not follow and have a disgruntled employee, I can assure you your greatest liability will be those policies and procedures that you are not following.

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As an employer, you are aware that the Department of Labor (DOL) had mandated changes in the overtime rules to take place December 1, 2016. Just in time for Thanksgiving, a United States District Court Judge in Texas entered a preliminary injunction that stopped the implementation of the new rules. Before you pop the champagne, you should know that the future remains murky.

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The Attorney/Client Privilege is one of the oldest, most respected and important privileges. The underlying purpose is to ensure that clients receive accurate and competent legal advice by encouraging full disclosure to their attorney without fear that the information will be revealed to others. It is often misunderstood and clients frequently have questions about what they can share with their attorney. 

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According to a “Las Vegas Review-Journal” article in January 2016, if job creation stays at its current rate, Nevada’s small businesses should reach peak employment by late 2016. Managers within small businesses are looking to fill their ranks with new employees.

If your business is among those looking to grow, you must make sure that you start the process in a way that will enable you to hire qualified individuals without exposing your business to liability.  Employment litigation is one of the fastest growing areas of litigation that employers face. Employers may face legal exposure, not just from conduct after hiring an employee, but from conduct during the hiring process itself. 

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