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Top 10 2009 Nevada Labor & Employment Law Developments

Volume 8, Issue 16
December 30, 2009
KZA offers its list of the top 10 developments in labor and employment law affecting Nevada employers – a list that is sure to confirm the need for 2009 to come to an end.
1. Changes To and Expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
First, effective January 16, 2009, new regulations clarified portions of the FMLA, including a new FMLA Poster, new forms, new rules governing direct contact with an employee’s health care provider and “cures” for incomplete or insufficient documentation.   KZA discussed these developments in its January 12, 2009 Employer Report.
Second, Congress twice amended the FMLA to provide benefits to families of those in military service. In the first amendment, the FMLA was expanded to create “qualifying exigency” leave and “military caregiver leave.”
Congress later amended these provisions on October 28, 2009, expanding “qualifying exigency leave” to include eligible family members of those serving on active duty in any regular component of the Armed Forces in any foreign country; expanded military caregiver leave provisions to cover families of certain veterans; and expanded the definition of “serious injury or illness” to include injuries and illnesses that are “aggravated by” active duty service.
KZA outlined these developments in the following issues of the Employer Report:
http://www.kzalaw.com/reports.php?vol=7&iss=11&art=1
http://www.kzalaw.com/reports.php?vol=8&iss=14&art=1
2. Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act.
Effective January 1, 2009, these amendments essentially expanded the definition of disability, reversing many of the courts’ limitations on the definition of who is “disabled.” The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued proposed regulations, the comment period for which ended last month.
3. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.
The first bill signed into law by President Obama, this Act greatly expands the time period for which an employee can claim a discriminatory pay violation beyond the previously-limited statute of limitations. See KZA’s summary and advice in the May 14, 2009 Employer Report.
4. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Enhances COBRA Benefits.
This congressional action created a subsidy for a portion of an involuntarily-terminated employee’s continued insurance premiums under COBRA for nine (9) months following the layoff or other termination. In legislation effective December 19, 2009, the eligibility period was recently extended to fifteen (15) months and the end date for eligibility was extended from December 31, 2009 to February 28, 2010.
5. Nevada Court’s Rejection of EEOC’s Attempt to Hold Casino Employer Liable for Customer Harassment.
On June 2, 2009, KZA secured a victory for one of its casino clients by having a local federal district court dismiss claims brought by the EEOC alleging customer harassment of employees. The Court rejected the EEOC’s claim that a pattern or practice of harassment and discrimination existed, in view of the fact that the EEOC was only able to support its claim with a mere six (6) employees out of a total workforce of over 9,000 – less than 0.1% in all. The Court stated these numbers “indicate that the EEOC’s allegations fall well short of showing any ‘standard operating procedure’ of allowing or condoning discrimination.” See KZA's prior summary of this ruling athttp://www.kzalaw.com/reports.php?vol=8&iss=8&art=1.

6. New Nevada Employment Laws Courtesy of the 2009 Legislative Session.
  • Employee leave rights for attendance at parent-teacher conferences, school-related activities during regular school hours, volunteering at school during regular school hours, and attendance at school-sponsored events. These include not only a requirement for leave, with notice, but protections from retaliation against an employee who has requested or taken such leave. (Assembly Bill 243)
  • Modification of Workers Compensation Obligations Through Collective Bargaining Agreements (Assembly Bill 410)
  • Changes to Nevada’s Mini-CORBA law applicable to employers with fewer than 20 employees. (Assembly Bill 546)
KZA’s July 22, 2009 Employer Report outlined these changes.
7. Increased Federal Attention to Nevada’s Workplace Safety & Likely New Nevada Federal OSHA Office.
As reported on November 18, 2009, the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) plans to step up its monitoring of Nevada OSHA’s efforts to improve workplace safety.  The Las Vegas Review-Journal has also reported the likely opening of a permanent Nevada office in Henderson.
8. E-Verify.
Effective September 8, 2009, federal contractors and subcontractors are required to use E-Verify to verify eligibility to work in the United States if that federal contract contains the Federal Acquisition E-Verify Clause.
9. Genetic Information Non-Disclosure Act (GINA).
Effective November 21, 2009, GINA prohibits discrimination, harassment and retaliation on the basis of genetic information, as well as an employer’s disclosure of genetic information. “Genetic information” includes information regarding an individual’s genetic tests and those of the individual’s family members, as well as any disease or disorder of the family member.
10. The Obama Administration.
We originally expected this would be “Story Number One,” together with the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Clearly, the Administration has made a number of changes through executive orders that affect federal employment and some federal contractors, and there is increased enforcement at the Department of Labor with the appointment of Hilda Solis. The EFCA is, however, temporarily stalled and may be changed before anticipated legislative action next year. Quicker elections (Canadian-style) and first-contract arbitration are rumored to be still on the table even if card-check is off the table. It is also likely that health care reform legislation will have significant effects upon employers and the workplace. After that legislative effort has concluded, Congress and the Administration are expected to pick up the EFCA to fulfill the President’s promises to organized labor.

Employer Report articles are for general information only; they are not intended and should not be construed to be legal advice. Reading or replying to such articles does not establish an attorney-client relationship. In addition, because the subject matters and applicable laws discussed in Employer Report articles are often in a state of change and not always applicable to every type of business entity or organization, readers should consult with counsel before making decisions based on the same.