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What are Nevada laws on bullying in the workplace?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jul 03, 2019 | 0 Comments

Nevada law has very little guidance about legal recourse for bullying victims. Had Nevada Assembly Bill 90 (2011) passed, state law would have explicitly prohibited employers from subjecting their employees to abusive conduct in a work environment.

Still, Nevada workplace bullying victims may be able to file a claim with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission (NERC) if the bullying involved or caused either:

  1. sexual harassment;
  2. wrongful termination;
  3. employment discrimination; and/or
  4. wage and hour disputes

Alternatively, the victim may be able to sue the bully and/or employer for battery, emotional distress, and other causes of action.

Depending on the case, bullying victims may be able to recover the following damages (if applicable):

  • back pay (including bonuses and tips);
  • loss of future earnings;
  • medical bills (including mental health therapy and rehab);
  • punitive damages; and/or
  • other out-of-pocket expenses

If the bullying causes the victim to lose his/her job, NERC could also order that the employer reinstate the victim.

1. Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is a type of sex discrimination. Victims may have grounds for a legal claim if either:

  • the harasser created a hostile work environment, such as keeping the victim from performing his/her job duties; or
  • the victim risks losing his/her job or promotions by rejecting the harasser ("quid pro quo harassment")

Sexual harassment is unlawful even if the victim does not end up losing his/her job or any money. Learn more about suing for sexual harassment in Nevada.

2. Wrongful termination

It is unlawful for employers to fire an employee because either: 

  1. The employer is discriminating against the employee for reasons having to do with race, nationality, sex, religion, age, disability, gender identity/expression, or sexual orientation;
  2. The firing violates the terms of an employment contract; or
  3. The firing was in retaliation to the employee for engaging in legally protected activities (such as serving on a jury, whistle-blowing, taking maternity or paternity leave, or declining to work in hazardous conditions)

Generally, Nevada's wrongful termination laws apply to companies employing 15 or more people. Learn more about suing for wrongful termination in Nevada.

3. Employment discrimination

It is illegal for employers to choose not to hire, assign, or promote employees on the basis of either: 

  • race or color,
  • national origin,
  • age,
  • sex,
  • religion, or
  • disability

Nevada law under NRS 613.330 specifically prohibits discrimination against employees based on:

  • gender identity or expression, or
  • sexual orientation

Generally, private employers, state agencies, and local agencies that employ no less than 15 employees for at least 20 weeks in the past year are expected to abstain from employment discrimination or else face legal consequences. And all federal agencies no matter the size could be liable for employment discrimination.

Learn more about suing for employment discrimination in Nevada.

4. Wage and hour disputes

Nevada and federal law have several laws regulating:

  • overtime pay;
  • minimum pay;
  • meal breaks;
  • rest breaks; and
  • family leave

Different employees are entitled to different things depending on whether they are employed or independent contractors, exempt or non-exempt, etc. But if bullying is depriving an employee from enjoying wage and hour benefits they would otherwise be entitled to, the employee should be able to file a claim with NERC or bring a lawsuit.

Learn more about suing for wage and hour disputes in Nevada.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

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