Many private employers in Nevada have policies for reimbursing employees who pay out-of-pocket for work-related expenses, such as office supplies or client lunches. And if they violate their promises to pay back their workers, the workers can sue them for reimbursement and possibly punitive damages.
Nevada wage and hour law has only a few provisions the address expense reimbursements, three of which include:
- Employers who require their workers to wear specialty uniforms must provide them to the workers free of cost;
- State employees who use their cell phones for work may be entitled to a monthly stipend; and
- Government agencies in Nevada are required to reimburse their employees for eligible work-related travel expenses.
Note that the standard mileage reimbursement rate is 54.5¢ a mile.
In this article, our Las Vegas Nevada labor law attorneys discuss:
- 1. Reimbursable work expenses in Nevada
- 2. Travel expenses and mileage reimbursements
- 3. Work uniforms
- 4. Using a personal cell phone for work
- 5. Suing for reimbursements
Nevada law is largely silent on whether employers are required to reimburse employees for work-related expenses. But many employers -- including state agencies and private businesses -- have internal policies in place that address expense reimbursement.
In general, employers provide their employees with all necessary work equipment -- such as a desk and computer -- that remains the employers' property once the employee leaves the job. Independent contractors are the only workers regularly expected to provide their own supplies.
But sometimes employees are compelled to use their own money or resources to keep the office running smoothly, such as:
- buying supplies when the office is under-stocked,
- taking a potential client out to lunch, or
- paying an office bill when the business checking account is too low
In these situations, employees are advised to keep their receipts and to document why it was necessary to use their own money.
Many employers require workers to get advance approval from management in order to qualify for an expense reimbursement. But many also allow for reasonable reimbursements after the fact as long as it was a necessary business expense. Employees should consult their boss or employee handbook to learn their company's expense reimbursement policy ahead of time.
Scroll down to the next sections for information about travel & mileage, uniform, and cell phone reimbursements.
It is against the law for employers to reimburse some employees but not others because of either their:
- gender (or gender identity)
- sexual orientation
Employers who deny work expense reimbursements to employees because they are in a protected class face a lawsuit for employment discrimination in Nevada.
Private employers are not required to reimburse employees for business-related travel expenses in Nevada, but many do anyway. Meanwhile, state and county employers are required by law to receive reimbursement for certain travel expenses:
In general, Nevada state and county employees are entitled to the following per diem travel allowances:
- approximately $93 for lodging, and
- approximately $51 for meals and incidentals
And state or county employees who use their own cars to travel for business may be able to receive 54.5¢ per mile. But this rate may be halved for state employees who use their personal cars for their own convenience, not the state's. Learn more about travel expense reimbursements in Nevada law.1
Many Nevada businesses -- especially Las Vegas's hotels and casinos -- require employees to wear specialty uniforms for work. State law requires employers to provide these specialty uniforms and accessories free of cost for their employees to wear. And if these uniforms require a special cleaning process, the employer is required to clean them or at least pay for the cleaning.2
Now that cell phone plans with unlimited minutes are standard, employees do not lose any money for using their personal cell phone for work. So employees of private companies may have a difficult time justifying a reimbursement request just for making a work call on a private cell phone.
The Nevada state government handles employee cell phone use in one of three ways:
- The state supplies a government phone for the employee to use solely for work-purposes, and the state pays for and owns the phone;
- The state pays a fixed monthly stipend to employees who use their personal cell phone for both personal and state business; or
- The state employee volunteers to use his/her personal cell phone for state business for no compensation
Note that state employees who use their personal phones for state business must sign an "Acceptable Use Agreement" and "Agreement for Use of a Mobile Device." And state employees should be aware that the "record of use" of their cell phone may be public record.3
Employers who violate their contractual promise to pay back their employees for making work-related purchases may be sued. The court in which the employee should file suit depends on the amount of money at issue:
Amount of work-related expenses
Court of jurisdiction
Up to $10,000
Small Claims Court
$10,000.01 - $15,000
$15,000.01 and higher
In the event the case proceeds to trial and ends with a victory for the plaintiff (employee), the court may order the employer to pay such damages as:
- the work-related expenses plus interest
- court costs
- attorneys' fees
Furthermore, the employer may be ordered to pay punitive damages as well if the employer maliciously or otherwise intentionally deprived the employee of reimbursement despite knowing the employee was entitled to it.
Call a Nevada labor law attorney...
Does your employer owe you money for a work-related expense? Or did you use your own vehicle to drive for work-related business and not get reimbursed for the miles?
Call our Las Vegas employment attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). We will try to settle the matter with your employer. Or if necessary, we can file a lawsuit and fight for full reimbursement as well as punitive damages.
Work in California? See our article about California work expense reimbursements.
- FY 2018 Per Diem Rates for Nevada, GSA.gov.; State Administrative Manual (SAM), Nevada Department of Administration (September 16, 2014); NRS 281.160; NRS 245.060.
- NRS 608.165 Special uniforms, accessories and cleaning to be furnished without cost to employee. All uniforms or accessories distinctive as to style, color or material shall be furnished, without cost, to employees by their employer. If a uniform or accessory requires a special cleaning process, and cannot be easily laundered by an employee, such employee's employer shall clean such uniform or accessory without cost to such employee.
Nevada Attorney General Opinion 417 (June 7, 1967) (An employer cannot require an employee to place a deposit, refundable in whole or in part depending on wear and tear, to secure a special uniform.).
- State Administrative Manual (SAM) section 1616, Nevada Department of Administration (September 16, 2014).