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Can Employers Disclaim Responsibility for Work-Related Injuries?

Can Employers Disclaim Responsibility for Work-Related Injuries?
People who work in Nevada may sometimes encounter an employer who asks them to agree that the employer is not responsible for providing them with workers’ compensation coverage, often in the form of a waiver. Before signing a document that purports to relieve an employer of obligations to provide coverage, workers should take a moment to understand when waivers are appropriate.

Nevada employers must provide employees with workers’ compensation coverage

Nevada law requires any person or firm that has an employee to provide that employee with workers’ compensation insurance. NRS 616A.230. An employer can’t simply disclaim its responsibilities to provide coverage. Allowing an across-the-board disclaimer would undermine the entire system. A disclaimer or waiver of coverage can be lawful where an exception places a worker outside the workers’ compensation system. In the right circumstances, a waiver is simply an acknowledgement that the worker fits within an exception and therefore is not entitled to coverage. NRS 616A.110 provides a list of specific people who are not considered “employees” for workers’ comp purposes. The list exempts specific categories of workers, some of which include a lot of working people. Here are a few examples of workers who are not “employees”:
  • People doing jobs that are both casual and not in the course of business of the employer.
  • Performers in stage shows.
  • Musicians hired for casual gigs not lasting more than two days.
  • Domestic workers.
  • Farm laborers.

Independent contractors are likely to be asked to sign waivers

Independent contractors are another important class of non-employees who will often be asked to sign a waiver of coverage as part of their contracting process. Nevada’s workers’ compensation statute defines an independent contractor as “any person who renders service for a specified recompense for a specified result, under the control of the person’s principal as to the result of the person’s work only and not as to the means by which such result is accomplished.” NRS 616A.255. The idea behind this definition is that the “person’s principal” is responsible for providing coverage. Although independent contractors can be covered under an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance in some situations, in others a self-employed individual can end up having to provide his or her own insurance.  Some employers try to inappropriately mischaracterize employees as independent contractors to avoid providing workers’ comp coverage and other benefits.

If a waiver is not lawful, fight it

An employer cannot get out of providing legally required workers’ compensation insurance by asking employees to sign inappropriate waiver forms. If this has happened to you and you are looking for answers, the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez may be able to help. For over 45 years we have worked with clients in the Las Vegas area get the benefits they deserve. For a no-cost attorney consultation, call us today at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you through our contact page.

Developments in Paid Sick Leave in Nevada

Developments in Paid Sick Leave in Nevada
Nevada does not require employers to provide paid sick leave. Our state’s lawmakers have debated in the issue, but for now, state law leaves the question of paid sick leave to be negotiated between employers and employees. Nonetheless, there are a few important legal rules that give sick employees some protections even without legally mandated paid sick leave.

Employers can opt-in to an obligation to provide paid sick leave

Employees can negotiate to have their employment contracts provide for a certain amount of paid sick leave, and some employers offer paid sick leave as part of their incentive packages. In Nevada, employers are required to have clear policies regarding paid time off. Employers can unwittingly create an implied contract to provide paid sick leave by having policies (such as an employee handbook, or official information on a corporate intraweb) that promise paid leave even if individual employment contracts are silent on the subject. A manager who promises paid leave can also create an obligation on the part of the employer.

Federal contractors are required to provide sick leave

Executive Order 13706, which went into effect on January 1, 2017, requires many federal contractors to provide their employees with up to seven days of paid sick leave each year. The order applies to large categories of contractors, including those who provide services to federal employees or conduct activities on federal lands. The order’s scope permits employees to take sick leave to care for themselves or a member of their family. Employees who qualify for paid sick leave under Executive Order 13706 accrue 1 hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked in connection with a covered contract.

Workers’ compensation and paid leave

Although insurance that covers lost wages is not quite the same as paid leave, it can offer equivalent benefits. Nevada employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Reimbursement for some lost wages is among the benefits that workers’ comp coverage can provide a worker who is injured on the job and temporarily unable to work. However, the reimbursement is generally only a percentage of the worker’s usual wage.

The right to take unpaid leave

Workers who need to take time off to deal with an illness or injury are often entitled to take unpaid leave without retaliation from their employer. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq., requires employers with at least 50 employees to give qualified employees up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave each year. FMLA leave is available to employees who need to take time off to recover from a serious medical condition that prevents them from working, take care of an immediate family member, or take care of a newborn child or a newly adopted child. The law requires employers to grant leave only to employees who have worked for at least 1,250 hours and been employed for at least 12 months. The FMLA also protects employees who take leave from losing their job or having it significantly changed solely as a consequence of taking advantage of the rights granted by the law.

Talk to a Las Vegas attorney about your legal options

At GGRM we are proud of the work we do helping workers who are recovering from an injury or illness protect their rights and get compensated for wrongful behavior by employers. If you have questions about your options for taking leave from work, call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476, or send us a request through our contact page.

Nevada’s Jury Duty Accommodations

Nevada's Jury Duty Accommodations
Being called to jury duty is both a privilege of our justice system and a burden, especially for people who have to take time off work to serve. Depending on the nature of the case and the luck of the draw, jury duty can take anywhere from a day or two to several months, or longer. Nevada law provides certain protections for employees who must take time off work for jury duty, and places important restrictions on how an employer can deal with disruptions caused by the employee being away from the job.

An employee’s obligations when called to jury duty

In Nevada, a person who receives a jury summons cannot simply ignore it. A potential juror who fails to show up on the required date can be held in contempt of court, be subjected to fines, and may have a warrant issued for their arrest. If jury duty presents a serious problem, a postponement can be requested from the court. The form of jury summons provides information about how to request a postponement. A person who wishes to postpone his or her service must get permission from the court before the appearance date. Postponements are available for reasons like illness, death or illness of a family member, undue hardship, caregiving (such as taking care of an infant), or public necessity. Bear in mind that job obligations typically aren’t enough to justify a postponement. Instead, Nevada law protects working people from adverse job consequences as a result of serving as jurors. To receive these protections, an employee who is called to jury duty must give his or her employer notice at least three days before the first appearance date. Failing to give notice can negate the employer’s obligation to accommodate the employee’s time off.

Employer responsibilities

Nevada employers are prohibited from discharging or threatening to discharge an employee because of the employee’s service as a prospective or actual juror. If an employer fires an employee for attending jury duty the employer has committed a gross misdemeanor punishable by jail time and up to $2,000 in fines, and the employee can sue for double lost wages and benefits, reinstatement, attorneys fees, and punitive damages of up to $50,000. NRS 6.190 et seq. Nevada law is designed to protect shift workers from being given unreasonable alternative schedules as a consequence of jury duty. When an employee is summoned to jury duty, an employer cannot require the employee to work within 8 hours before the employee is due to appear. If the employee attends jury duty for 4 or more hours, including commute time to and from the court, an employer cannot require the employee to work between 5 p.m. on the day of the appearance and 3 a.m. the following day. Unlike some states, Nevada does not require employers to continue to pay an employee during jury duty. Although some employers opt to continue paying employees, many do not. As proud members of Nevada’s legal community, we are happy to do our part to make sure that employers and workers are complying with their jury duty obligations. If you would like to speak to an attorney about how jury duty rules affect you or your business, call us at 702-388-4476 or send us a message through our website.