Seeing Dollar Signs (or Not) on Salary Verifications in Nevada

Las Vegas is famous for high-rollers and big spending. It might seem like the city, and the broader state of Nevada, are all about the money. But now, a new state law is putting the brakes on discussions or inquiries about pay history, including wages and salary, for employment purposes.

Nevada’s Restrictions & Transparency Requirements on Pay

Nevada’s law is similar to others in place across the country like in Toledo, Ohio and Maryland. SB 293 was signed into law by Governor Sisolak on June 2, 2021. As of the effective date of October 1, 2021, employers in the state and employment agencies recruiting for employers in the state cannot:

  • Seek the wage or salary history of an applicant;
  • Use the wage or salary history of an applicant to determine whether to offer them employment or determine their rate of pay;
  • Refuse to interview, hire, promote or employ an applicant, or discriminate or retaliate against them, if they do not provide wage or salary history

But employers don’t have to be left in the dark. They can still ask applicants for their wage or salary expectations for the job.

In addition to the restrictions, employers are required to provide certain wage and salary information. This includes disclosing the wage or salary range or rate to:

  • Applicants that interviewed for the job
  • Current employees that applied and interviewed for a transfer or promotion and requested the wage or salary range or rate for the transfer or promotion

Talking About Pay Could Cost Employers

Here’s where Nevada employers may want to start thinking about money again. Once in effect, a person can file a complaint with the Nevada Office of the Labor Commissioner against employers and employment agencies for violating the new law.  Employers and employment agencies that fail to follow the law could face monetary penalties from the state’s Labor Commissioner. Every violation can result in up to a $5,000 administrative penalty in addition to any other remedy or penalty. On top of that, if an administrative penalty is imposed by the Labor Commissioner, employers could be responsible for the costs related to the Labor Commissioner’s administrative proceeding. This might include investigative costs and attorney fees.

Potential consequences may not stop there. Individuals that file a complaint with the state may also take legal action. Upon request to the Labor Commissioner, the complainant can get a right-to-sue notice if at least 180 days have passed after the complaint was filed. They person may, within 90 days of receiving the right-to-sue notice, bring a civil action against the employer in district court.

Taking Account of Definitions

The key players at the table are Employers and Employment Agencies and what is considered the applicant’s Wage or Salary History. Here are definitions laid out by the law:

  • An “Employer” means a public or private employer in Nevada, including, without limitation: The State of Nevada, an agency of Nevada, a political subdivision of Nevada, among other entities.
  • “Employment agency” means any person regularly undertaking with or without compensation to procure employees for an employer or to procure for employees opportunities to work for an employer.
  • “Wage or salary history” means the wages or salary paid to an applicant for employment by the current or former employer of the    The   term   includes, without   limitation, any compensation and benefits received by the applicant from his or her current or former employer.

The law may not apply to all employers. Exceptions include:

  • Any employer with respect to employment outside of Nevada
  • Any religious corporation, association, or society with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the carrying on of its religious activities

Employers that hire in the state of Nevada may want to review the pending law with trusted legal counsel before its enactment this fall. But even those that don’t do business in the state may wish to proceed with caution. Laws limiting inquiries into a candidate’s prior pay continue to pop up around the country – indicating a growing trend that HR professionals may want to watch.

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