En Banc Nevada Supreme Court Clarifies State Record-Keeping and Minimum Wage Notice Requirements

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In a recent decision, the Nevada Supreme Court provided guidance on how employers must maintain wage records and inform employees of minimum wage rate adjustments.  On December 30, 2021, the Nevada Supreme Court issued a 6-0 en banc opinion in a class action appeal regarding NRS 608.115’s record-keeping requirement and the Minimum Wage Amendment (“MWA”) in the Nevada Constitution’s notice requirement.  Nev. Const., Art. 15, Sec. 16(A).  In A Cab, LLC v. Murray, 137 Nev. Adv. Op. 84 (2021), the named representatives in the class action were taxi drivers who alleged violations of the minimum wage.  A Cab, the former employer, appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgment for the drivers and challenged certain interlocutory and post-judgment orders.

Before reaching the substantive questions before it, the Nevada Supreme Court first analyzed whether the district court had subject matter jurisdiction over the class claims. When calculated individually, the plaintiffs’ claims fell below the justice court damages threshold, which, when the action was filed in 2012, was $10,000.1  A Cab argued that under Castillo v. United Fed. Credit Union, 134 Nev. 13, 409 P.3d 54 (2018), individual class members’ claims may not be aggregated to establish district court jurisdiction.  The Nevada Supreme Court noted that the current NRCP 23(b), which was amended in 2019, specifically allows for representative parties to “aggregate the value of the individual claims of all potential class members to establish district court jurisdiction over a class action.”  The Nevada Supreme Court held that total damages sought by the class must be considered in determining whether the justice court has jurisdiction under NRS 4.370 and that the jurisdictional interpretation set forth in Castillo regarding aggregation was overruled. 

Having held that the district court had jurisdiction over the matter, the Nevada Supreme Court then addressed the MWA’s notice requirement.  For background, under the MWA “[a]n employer shall provide written notification of the [minimum wage] rate adjustments to each of its employees and make the necessary payroll adjustments by July 1 following the publication of the [Labor Commissioner] bulletin.”  Nev. Const. Art. 15, Sec. 16(A).  The district court concluded the MWA required an employer to “provide” to “each” of its employees “written notification” of the rate adjustments to the minimum wage, and that A Cab had failed to properly inform its employees of the rate adjustments.  In reversing the district court, the Nevada Supreme Court held that there is no express requirement that each employee be individually provided with written notice and that a notice posted in the common work area is sufficient.  Because A Cab posted the written notification in its employee common areas to which each driver had access, the Nevada Supreme Court held that it had fulfilled the MWA’s requirements to provide notice to each employee.

The Nevada Supreme Court also examined an employer’s record-keeping requirements.  Pursuant to NRS 608.115(1), employers are required to “establish and maintain records of wages” for each pay period for their employees that “show[] for each pay period,” among other things, the “[g]ross wage,” “[n]et cash wage,” and “total hours employed in the pay period by noting the number of hours per day.”  NRS 608.115(1)(a), (c)-(d).  In this case, A Cab provided data from its computerized pay records and handwritten tripsheets for pre-2013 work.  While the tripsheets accounted for all hours worked by the drivers, including start and end times and notes about breaks during the shift, the computerized data for this period did not contain information regarding the total hours worked per shift.  The Nevada Supreme Court agreed with the district court’s ruling that this information failed to conform with the requirements in NRS 608.115.  Specifically, even though the drivers could determine hours worked by calculating it from the tripsheets, the Nevada Supreme Court held the plain meaning of the statute requires employers to keep records showing an employee’s wage and the number of hours worked per day. 

The Nevada Supreme Court’s unanimous decision clarifies the obligation of employers in keeping records reflecting the number of hours worked per day as well as how to properly notify employees of minimum wage rate adjustments.  Nevada employers should consult with knowledgeable counsel to ensure compliance with notice and record-keeping requirements.

Footnotes

The current statutory threshold for justice court under NRS 4.370(1) is actions seeking less than $15,000. 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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