The Nevada Labor Commissioner has newly expanded investigatory powers as a result of statutory changes made by the Nevada Legislature in its 2003 legislative session and approved by the Governor, effective May 21, 2003. Pursuant to an amendment to NRS 607.160, when the Labor Commissioner has reason to believe that a person or entity is violating a Nevada labor law or regulation, the Labor Commissioner may take “any appropriate action,” regardless of whether or not a claim or complaint has been filed. These new investigation powers cover both statutes specifically assigned to the Labor Commissioner to enforce, as well as any Nevada labor law that is not specifically or exclusively enforced by another government entity.
Combined with additional new powers to issue administrative fines of up to $5,000.00 and the preexisting powers contained in NRS 607.150, which provide the Labor Commissioner with the authority to enter any public or private place of employment at reasonable times to “gather facts,” the 2003 statutory changes provide the Labor Commissioner with significant new enforcement authority. It is thus quite surprising that there was little discussion or debate in the Nevada Legislature before passage.
While the full scope of the Labor Commissioner’s new powers is unknown, employers are advised to take an even more careful approach in meeting their Nevada labor law obligations.