A new law affecting all employers, regardless of size, will take effect January 1, 2018. If one of your employees, or his/her family member(s), is the victim of domestic violence, you will be required to allow him/her up to 160 hours (20 full-time days) off from work within a 12-month period. You are also required to affect the operations of your business if so requested by such an employee.

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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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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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Sometimes, predatory individuals try to take advantage of the legal system to harm business owners.  Whether it is an individual “slipping” and falling after a self-created hazard on your premises or fabricating some other violation of law, business owners can fall prey to sophisticated opportunists. It has been recently reported that an individual has made a career by threatening and filing lawsuits against numerous businesses for technical violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) – to date, he has obtained nearly $250,000 in settlements for alleged violations. If you were unaware, the FCRA imposes a number of duties on employers who obtain background checks on applicants. 

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You have built your business through your creative processes, products or systems. In the development of your business, you have hired employees to implement or sell those processes, products or systems. One of the most devastating things to your business may be, not only the departure of one of your key employees, but that the employee takes those processes, products or systems with her when she goes to work for your primary competitor – or starts her own business based upon the foundation you have laid.

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The legalization of marijuana in Nevada creates murky waters for Nevada’s businesses.  The sale and use of marijuana remains illegal under federal law.  The Controlled Substances Act, so long as it remains unchanged by Congress, will keep waters murky for such issues as whether you can enforce a “drug-free” workplace policy; whether you employees can claim that you have violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA); and the extent to which you can get sued if an employee under the influence of marijuana injures another employee or member of the public.

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