Nevada Supreme Court issues ruling on minimum wage exemptions


Teri Williams
Carson City, NV - June 26, 2014

The Nevada Supreme Court today issued an opinion clarifying which Nevada workers are exempt from the payment of minimum wage.

In 2004 and 2006, Nevada voters approved an amendment to the Nevada Constitution which created a unique minimum wage system in Nevada. In addition to creating a two-tiered minimum wage system, the constitutional amendment provided that individuals under the age of 18 years old, those employed by nonprofit organizations for after-school or summer employment, and those employed as trainees for a period not to exceed 90 days were not entitled to payment of minimum wage.

Prior to the amendment, Nevada law provided for other exemptions to the payment of minimum wage, specifically, NRS 608.250 exempted six categories of individuals: (1) casual babysitters; (2) domestic service employees who reside in the household; (3) outside salespersons whose earnings are based on commissions; (4) certain agricultural employees; (5) taxicab and limousine drivers; and (6) certain persons with severe disabilities.

While the constitutional amendment did not directly conflict with the exemptions outlined in NRS 608.250, its passage created some uncertainty. It was this uncertainty that the Nevada Supreme Court addressed in Thomas v. Nevada Yellow Cab, 130 Nev. Adv. Op. 52 (2014). In its opinion, the Nevada Supreme Court found that exemptions outlined in the Nevada Constitution supersede the exemptions previously provided for in NRS 608.250. The only individuals who are exempt from the payment of minimum wage, according to the Nevada Supreme Court, are those specifically outlined in the constitutional amendment.

What does this decision mean for Nevada? It means that employers who have previously relied on the exemptions outlined in NRS 608.250 will be mandated to pay minimum wage to those six categories of individuals not specifically exempted in the Nevada Constitution.

About the Office of the Labor Commissioner

The Office of the Labor Commissioner is a division of the Department of Business and Industry. The Labor Commissioner strives to ensure that all workers are treated fairly under the law by investigating complaints of non-payment of wages, State minimum wage, overtime, and prevailing wage disputes. The office also monitors youth employment standards, including work hours and safe, non-hazardous working conditions.