Nevada Whistleblower Laws

Whistleblower Laws of Nevada

A Summary of Nevada Whistleblower Laws

The state of Nevada follows the employment-at-will doctrine which is a rule that allows employers to discharge their employees for any reason or no reason. However, Nevada has a few exceptions to this doctrine. They include common law protections and statutory protections. Common law protections are laws that are created by courts to address areas not covered by enacted laws, whereas statutory protections are laws that are enacted by the state’s legislature to address specific subject areas, e.g., discrimination.

This is a summary of Nevada Whistleblower Laws, make sure to check out the Federal Whistleblower Laws as well.

Whistleblower Rights in Nevada

Common Law Protections for Whistleblowers in Nevada

Nevada has a public policy that is used as an exception to the employment-at-will doctrine. Employees cannot be discharged for reasons that violate the state’s public policy. To determine whether a discharged employee is eligible for protection under public policy, the courts usually rely on statutes, federal laws, or prior judicial opinions that address cases that are similar to the employee’s. For example, an employer who fires an employee in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim despite a statute endorsing the filing of such a claim may be found guilty of violating public policy. In Nevada, some activities are considered protected activities under the state’s public policy. Therefore, employees who get discharged for engaging in protected activities have a right to file a wrongful discharge suit. Some of these activities include:

  • Refusing to carry out an illegal activity.
  • Disclosing a violation of a law, rule, or regulation.
  • Refusing to work in unsafe working conditions.

Statutory Protections for Whistleblowers in Nevada

Public Employees

It is against the law to in any way retaliate against a state officer or employee because the state officer or employee has disclosed improper governmental action. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 281.641. Also, no state officer or employee is allowed to use his or her official authority to intimidate, threaten or take any action to influence another state office or employer in an effort to prevent or interfere with disclosure of information concerning improper governmental action. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 281.631.

Compensation, Wages & Hours

It is considered unlawful for any person to threaten, intimidate, or in any way attempt to prevent an employee from testifying in an investigation or proceeding concerning Nevada’s compensation, wages, and hours laws. Also, it is illegal to penalize or discharge an employee in retaliation for testifying in such a proceeding or investigation. Nevada’s Compensation, Wages & Hours statute addresses laws concerning minimum wage, overtime compensation, meal and rest periods, and working hours. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 608.015.

Discrimination

It is unlawful for an employer to discharge, refuse to hire or in any way discriminate against an individual in retaliation for:

  • Opposing discriminatory practices that are considered unlawful under this statute.
  • Making a charge under this statute.
  • Testifying or participating in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing regarding discrimination in employment.

Under this statute, discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, or national origin is forbidden. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 613.340(1).

Lie Detectors

It is illegal for an employer to discharge, refuse to hire, discipline, or in any way discriminate against an employee or prospective employee in retaliation for:

  • Filing a complaint under this statute.
  • Instituting a proceeding under this statute.
  • Testifying or intending to testify in a proceeding under this statute.
  • Exercising a right endorsed by this statute on behalf of himself, herself, or others.

Under this statute, employers are not allowed to directly or indirectly require or suggest any employee or prospective employee to take or submit any lie detector test. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 613.480(4).

Medical Personnel

No medical facility is allowed to discriminate against an employee in retaliation for:

  • Reporting a misconduct by a physician that may call for disciplinary action tothe Board of Medical Examiners or the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • Disclosing a sentinel event to the Health Division.
  • Cooperating or participating in an investigation or proceeding conducted by the Board of Medical Examiners, the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine, or any other government agency regarding the misconduct by a physician.

Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 449.205.

Occupational Safety and Health

No person is allowed to discharge or in any way discriminate against an employee in retaliation for:

  • Filing a complaint under this statute.
  • Instituting a proceeding under this statute.
  • Testifying or intending to testify in a proceeding under this statute.
  • Exercising a right endorsed by this statute on behalf of himself, herself, or others.

Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 618.445.

Whistleblower Hotlines in Nevada

To file a complaint under the discrimination statute, call the Nevada Equal Rights Commission at (775) 823-6690.

To file a complaint under the public employees statute, call the Nevada Personnel Commission at (775) 684-0131.

To file a complaint under the Occupational Safety and Health statute, call the Nevada Division of Industrial Relations at (775) 684-7270.

Whistleblower Retaliation Claims in Nevada

Unless stated otherwise by a statute, retaliation claims should be filed with the appropriate court within 2 years of the retaliatory action.

Discrimination

Complaints under this statute should be filed with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission at least 180 days after the retaliatory action was taken. If the commission determines that a retaliatory action was not taken, the commission may issue a right to sue notice to the aggrieved employee. Lawsuits should be filed within 90 days of receiving the right to sue notice.

Public Employees

Complaints under this statute should be filed with a hearing officer of the Personnel Commission within 2 years of the retaliatory action.

Lie Detectors

Lawsuits under this statute should be filed within 3 years of the retaliation.

Occupational Safety and Health

Complaints under this statute should be filed with the Nevada Division of Industrial Relations (NDIR) within 30 days of the retaliatory action. However, complainants are required to first inform the employer of the intention to file a complaint.

Whistleblower Retaliation and Violation Penalties in Nevada

Unless stated otherwise by a statute, employers who carry out unlawful retaliation against an employee may be liable to the aggrieved employee for a combination or any of the following:

  • Punitive damages.
  • Injunctive relief.
  • Reinstatement to the previous job position.
  • Reinstatement of full fringe benefits.
  • Litigation costs.
  • Plus any other relief deemed appropriate by the court.

Public Employees

If the hearing officer determines that the employer carried out a wrongful retaliation against an employee, he or she may order:

  • The violator to desist and refrain from violating this statute.
  • The firing of the person who carried out the unlawful retaliation.

Discrimination

If the Nevada Equal Rights Commission determines that an employer carried out unlawful retaliation against an employee, the commission may award the appropriate relief to the aggrieved employee which may include, without limitation, an order granting or restoring the employee’s rights.

If the case goes to court, the aggrieved may be awarded the following types of relief:

  • Reinstatement or hiring of the complainant, with or without back pay.
  • Plus any other equitable relief deemed appropriate by the court.

Back pay liability shall not accrue for more than 2 years after the filing of the complaint with the commission. Interim earnings, including amounts the employee could have earned with reasonable diligence, shall operate to reduce the back pay otherwise allowable.

Lie Detectors

Employers who carry out unlawful retaliation against an employee may be liable to the aggrieved employee for:

  • Reinstatement, promotion, or hiring of the complainant.
  • Payment of lost wages and benefits.
  • Litigation costs, including reasonable attorney’s fees.
  • Plus any other relief deemed appropriate by the court.

In addition, employers who violate this statute may be liable for an administrative penalty of not more than $9000 for each violation.

Medical Personnel

Employers who carry out unlawful retaliation against an employee may be liable to the aggrieved employee for:

  • Punitive damages.
  • Compensatory damages.
  • Reimbursement of any wages, salary, employment benefits, or other compensation denied to or lost by the employee.
  • Litigation costs, including reasonable attorney’s fees.
  • Reinstatement to the previous job position.
  • Plus any other relief deemed appropriate.

More Nevada Laws

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