News

Nevada domestic violence leave law takes effect January 1

by Deanna L. Forbush

Nevada’s law requiring employers to provide victims of domestic violence time off, reasonable accommodations, and protection against discrimination and retaliation takes effect January 1.

Requirements, definitions

The state’s Domestic Violence Leave Act covers all employers. The law states that employees who have worked for an employer for at least 90 days and are victims of an act of domestic violence or have family or household members who are victims of an act of domestic violence are entitled to 160 hours of leave in a 12-month period, provided they are not the alleged perpetrator. Leave must be taken during the 12 months following the date the domestic violence occurred. Leave may be paid or unpaid and may be used consecutively or intermittently.

Under the Nevada law, “domestic violence” includes as potential victims the perpetrator’s spouse and former spouse and any person with whom the perpetrator:

  1. Shares a blood or marriage relationship;
  2. Is or was residing;
  3. Has had or currently has a dating relationship; or
  4. Has a child in common.

The definition also includes a minor child or any of the listed persons and any other person who has been appointed custodian or legal guardian of the perpetrator’s minor child.

Under the law, the following crimes can constitute domestic violence:

  • Battery;
  • Assault;
  • Coercion (compelling a person by force or threat of force to perform an act from which he or she has a right to refrain or to refrain from performing an act that he or she has a right to perform);
  • Sexual assault; and
  • Other forms of harm, such as stalking, arson, trespassing, larceny, false imprisonment, unlawful entry, and destruction of private property (including financial abuse).

Employers may also have obligations to employees who are victims of domestic violence under federal family and medical leave laws, occupational safety and health laws, or federal mandates related to nondiscrimination and sexual harassment. If domestic violence leave is used for a reason for which leave can also be taken under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (i.e., if an employee suffers from a serious health condition because of domestic violence), the two types of leave must run concurrently.

Reasons for leave, accommodations

Provided that the employee is not the alleged perpetrator, domestic violence leave can be used for the following reasons:

  • To receive diagnosis, care, and treatment of a health condition related to domestic violence committed against the employee or a member of the employee’s family or household;
  • To obtain counseling or assistance related to domestic violence committed against the employee or a member of the employee’s family or household;
  • To participate in court proceedings related to an act of domestic violence committed against the employee or a member of the employee’s family or household; or
  • To establish a safety plan, including taking any action that will provide safety for the employee or a member of the employee’s family or household from a future act of domestic violence.

The law requires employers to reasonably accommodate employees who are victims of domestic violence through:

  • Transfers or reassignments;
  • Modified schedules;
  • A new work telephone number; and
  • Any reasonable accommodations that will not create an undue hardship and are deemed necessary to ensure the safety of the employee, the workplace, the employer, or other employees.

Prohibited acts

Employers may not deny an employee leave authorized by the law, require an employee to find a replacement worker as a condition of taking leave, or retaliate against an employee for taking leave under the law.

The law also makes it unlawful for an employer to discharge, discipline, discriminate against in any manner, deny employment or promotion to, or threaten to take such actions against employees because they exercise rights granted under the law.

In most cases, unemployment benefits cannot be denied to victims of domestic violence. The law states that no otherwise-eligible persons who have left employment to protect themselves or a member of their family or household from domestic violence can be denied unemployment benefits if they are actively seeking employment.

For more information on Nevada’s domestic violence leave law, see the September issue of Nevada Employment Law Letter.

Deanna L. Forbush is an attorney with Clark Hill PLC in Las Vegas, Nevada. She can be reached at dforbush@clarkhill.com.