Eighth Judicial District Court Reaffirms That Nevada Public Employers Are Not Required To Bargain Over Rights To Hire, Transfer And Promote Employees

Volume 7, Issue 11
January 31, 2009

On November 5, 2008, the Eighth Judicial District Court granted a Petition for Judicial Review filed by the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District seeking reversal of an earlier decision entered the Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board ("EMRB"). By way of background, the Library District has had a 10-year collective bargaining relationship with Teamsters Local Union No. 14. During the most recent cycle of collective bargaining negotiations in 2006, the parties could not reach agreement on certain Union proposals which imposed restrictions on the District's ability to fill job vacancies and make employee transfer and promotional decisions. Given this disagreement, the District filed a Complaint with the EMRB, the state agency which governs public sector labor issues. The EMRB is the public sector counterpart of the National Labor Relations Board, which governs private sector labor issues. Following a hearing in December 2006, the EMRB entered a decision in March 2007 which held that the Union's proposals were mandatory subjects of bargaining. In so doing, the EMRB ignored express statutory language contained in Nevada Revised Statute 288.150 which states that "the right to hire, direct, assign or transfer an employee" is reserved to a local government employer without negotiation. The Library District sought judicial review of the EMRB's decision before the Eighth Judicial District Court. On November 5, 2008, the Honorable Valerie Adair entered an Order reversing the EMRB's decision, ruling that the EMRB had violated the statutory language of NRS 288.150 by improperly attempting to convert express management rights into mandatory subjects of collective bargaining. Specifically, the Court held: "The right to hire, transfer and assign employees necessarily encompasses the methodologies and procedures by which an employer makes such decisions. Placing limitations on what order a local government employer must consider applicants or what criteria must be satisfied infringes upon the rights reserved to a local government employer to hire, transfer and assign employees and contravenes both the language and purpose of NRS 288.150(3)(a)." This Order is significant in that it reaffirms the fundamental management rights of all Nevada public employers to hire and select the best qualified candidates for jobs without constraints imposed on such rights. The Order also represents a rare instance where a decision of the EMRB has been completely reversed by a reviewing court. An appeal has been recently filed, and the Nevada Supreme Court will make a final determination of this issue. Kamer Zucker Abbott is proud to have represented the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District in this matter, and we congratulate our client on this important employer victory.

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