Yes, Nevada is a Right to Work state. This means that employees can choose whether to join a union. And employers cannot disqualify job candidates or retaliate against employees based on whether they are in a union.
In short, workers cannot be forced to join a union – or refrain from joining a union – as a condition of employment. And employers and labor unions cannot conspire to make union membership a condition of employment.1
By contrast, neighboring California is not a right to work state, despite numerous attempts over the years to introduce such laws.
How long has Nevada been a Right to Work State?
Following an initiative petition in Nevada, the Right to Work law passed on November 4, 1952 (election day) and took effect in 1953.2
What states are Right to Work states?
In addition to Nevada, other Right to Work states include:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
States are permitted to pass “right to work” laws pursuant to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which was amended by the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947.
Is Right to Work the same as At Will Employment?
No. Nevada is both a Right to Work state and At Will Employment state, but they are entirely different concepts.
Right to Work prohibits employers from taking adverse actions against workers or job applicants based on their union status. In contrast, At Will Employment allows employers to fire their workers for any lawful reason. Employers do not need a “good cause” to terminate their employees unless they have an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement indicating otherwise.
Learn more in our article, Exemptions to Employment At Will in Nevada.
What are Nevada’s Right to Work statutes?
NRS 613.230 to NRS 613.300 spell out how employers can work regardless of their union status:
NRS 613.230 “Labor organization” defined. As used in NRS 613.230 to 613.300, inclusive, the term “labor organization” means any organization of any kind, or any agency or employee representation committee or plan, in which employees participate and which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours of employment, or other conditions of employment.
NRS 613.250 Agreements prohibiting employment because of nonmembership in labor organization prohibited. No person shall be denied the opportunity to obtain or retain employment because of nonmembership in a labor organization, nor shall the State, or any subdivision thereof or any corporation, individual or association of any kind enter into any agreement, written or oral, which excludes any person from employment or continuation of employment because of nonmembership in a labor organization.
NRS 613.260 Certain contracts declared illegal and void. Any act or any provision in any agreement which is in violation of NRS 613.230 to 613.300, inclusive, shall be illegal and void. Any strike or picketing to force or induce any employer to make an agreement in writing or orally in violation of NRS 613.230 to 613.300, inclusive, shall be for an illegal purpose.
NRS 613.270 Compelling person to join labor organization or to strike against own will or to leave employment prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any employee, labor organization, or officer, agent or member thereof to compel or attempt to compel any person to join any labor organization or to strike against the person’s will or to leave employment by any threatened or actual interference with his or her person, immediate family or property.
NRS 613.280 Conspiracy. Any combination or conspiracy by two or more persons to cause the discharge of any person or to cause such person to be denied employment because he or she is not a member of a labor organization, by inducing or attempting to induce any other person to refuse to work with such person, shall be illegal.
NRS 613.290 Liability for damages. Any person who violates any provision of NRS 613.230 to 613.300, inclusive, or who enters into any agreement containing a provision declared illegal by NRS 613.230 to 613.300, inclusive, or who shall bring about the discharge or the denial of employment of any person because of nonmembership in a labor organization shall be liable to the person injured as a result of such act or provision and may be sued therefor, and in any such action any labor organization, subdivision or local thereof shall be held to be bound by the acts of its duly authorized agents acting within the scope of their authority and may sue or be sued in its common name.
NRS 613.300 Injunctive relief. Any person injured or threatened with injury by an act declared illegal by NRS 613.230 to 613.300, inclusive, shall, notwithstanding any other provision of the law to the contrary, be entitled to injunctive relief therefrom.
- NRS 613.230 to NRS 613.300. See Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau Office of Research Background Paper 1975 No. 8 RIGHTTO WORK.
- Same. See also: Associated Builders & Contrs., Inc. v. Southern Nev. Water Auth. (1999) ; Cone v. Nev. Serv. Emples. Union/SEIU Local 1107 (2000) .