Nevada Supreme Court Says Minimum Wage Amendment to Nevada Constitution Supersedes Exceptions in NRS 608.250

Volume 13, Issue 11
June 27, 2014

Yesterday, the Nevada Supreme Court issued its decision in Thomas v. Nevada Yellow Cab Corp., holding that the exceptions to the state's minimum wage set forth in NRS 608.250(2) were completely superseded by the 2006 Minimum Wage Amendment to the Nevada Constitution.

The minimum wage exceptions under NRS 608.250(2) were for specific types of employees in private employment within the State of Nevada:

  • Casual babysitters;
  • Domestic service employees who reside in the household where they work;
  • Outside salespersons whose earnings are based on commissions;
  • Employees engaged in an agricultural pursuit for an employer who did not use more than 500 days of agricultural labor in any calendar quarter of the preceding calendar year;
  • Taxicab and limousine drivers; and
  • Persons with severe disabilities whose disabilities have diminished their productive capacity in a specific job and who are specified in certificates issued by the Rehabilitation Division of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

The Nevada Supreme Court explained that because the language of the Minimum Wage Amendment clearly provides for a few express exceptions to the new constitutional minimum wage requirements (i.e., those for employees under eighteen years of age, employed by a nonprofit organization for after school or summer employment or as a trainee for a period not longer than ninety (90) days), but not other exemptions, the Amendment must be interpreted as excluding all of the exceptions listed in NRS 608.250(2).

The Court's decision reverses an order of a state district court that concluded the Minimum Wage Amendment did not entirely replace the existing statutory minimum wage scheme set forth in NRS 608.250, such that taxicab drivers remained exempt from Nevada's minimum wage. It is also contrary to the reasoning utilized in several, non-binding federal district court decisions examining the same legal question.

The Court's decision is a substantial blow to Nevada's businesses employing outside salespersons, taxicab drivers and limousine drivers, not to mention businesses trying to provide employment opportunities to persons with severe disabilities. Additionally, the Nevada Labor Commissioner has held numerous wage complaints involving the application of one or more of the statutory minimum wage exemptions under NRS 608.250 in abeyance pending the Court's resolution of this issue and will now move forward in adjudicating those complaints.

KZA Employer Report articles are for general information only; they are not intended and should not be construed to be legal advice. Reading or replying to such articles does not establish an attorney-client relationship. In addition, because the subject matters and applicable laws discussed in Employer Report articles are often in a state of change and not always applicable to every type of business entity or organization, readers should consult with counsel before making decisions based on the same.