MDC RESTAURANTS, LLC; LAGUNA RESTAURANTS, LLC; AND INKA, LLC, Petitioners,
THE EIGHTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF CLARK; AND THE HONORABLE TIMOTHY C. WILLIAMS, DISTRICT JUDGE, Respondents, and PAULETTE DIAZ; LAWANDA GAIL WILBANKS; SHANNON OLSZYNSKI; AND CHARITY FITZLAFF, ALL ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND ALL SIMILARLY SITUATED INDIVIDUALS, Real Parties in Interest.
Original petition for a writ of mandamus or other
extraordinary relief challenging a district court order
concerning the interpretation of Nevada Constitution Article
15, Section 16.
Hill PLLC and Nicholas M. Wieczorek, Deanna L. Forbush, and
Jeremy J. Thompson, Las Vegas, for Petitioners.
Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin, LLP, and Bradley S.
Schrager, Jordan J. Butler, and Don Springmeyer, Las Vegas,
for Real Parties in Interest.
Jackson Lewis P.C. and Elayna J, Youchah and Phillip C.
Thompson, Las Vegas, for Amici Curiae Claim Jumper
Acquisition Co., LLC; Landry's Inc.; Landry's Seafood
House-Nevada, Inc.; Landry's Seafood House- Arlington,
Inc.; Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurants, Inc.; Morton's
of Chicago/Flamingo Road Corp.; and Bertolini's of Las
Littler Mendelson and Rick D. Roskelley, Kathryn B. Blakey,
Roger L. Grandgenett, II, and Montgomery Y. Paek, Las Vegas,
for Amici Curiae Briad Restaurant Group, LLC; Wendy's of
Las Vegas, Inc.; Cedar Enterprises, Inc.; and Terrible
THE COURT EN BANC.
Minimum Wage Amendment (MWA) to the Nevada Constitution
allows an employer who provides health benefits to pay a
minimum wage of one dollar per hour less than an employer who
does not provide health benefits. In this case, we are asked
to clarify what health benefits an employer must provide to
qualify for this privilege. We answer that the MWA requires
an employer who pays one dollar per hour less in wages to
provide a benefit in the form of health insurance at least
equivalent to the one dollar per hour in wages that the
employee would otherwise receive. Because the district court
applied the substantive requirements of NRS Chapters 608,
689A, and 689B, rather than the standard set forth in this
opinion, we grant petitioners' request for extraordinary
is the result of a voter initiative called "The Raise
the Minimum Wage for Working Nevadans Act." Posed as a
statewide ballot question in 2004 and 2006, the measure
declared that "[n]o full-time worker should live in
poverty in our state" and that "[r]aising the
minimum wage is the best way to fight poverty."
Secretary of State, Statewide Ballot Questions, Question No.
6, p. 35 (2006), http://nvsos.gov/sos/home/
showdocument?id=206. It stated that "[l]iving expenses
such as housing, healthcare, and food have far outpaced wage
levels for Nevada's working families" and that a
higher minimum wage would help "make sure the workers
who are the backbone of our economy receive fair paychecks
that allow them and their families to live above the poverty
line." Id. After the measure passed in both
2004 and 2006, it became Article 15, Section 16 of the Nevada
Constitution. In relevant part, the MWA reads:
Each employer shall pay a wage to each employee of not less
than the hourly rates set forth in this section. The rate
shall be five dollars and fifteen cents ($5.15) per hour
worked, if the employer provides health benefits as described
herein, or six dollars and fifteen cents ($6.15) per hour if
the employer does not provide such benefits. Offering health
benefits within the meaning of this section shall consist of
making health insurance available to the employee for the
employee and the employee's dependents at a total cost to
the employee for premiums of not more than 10 percent of the
employee's gross taxable income from the employer. These
rates of wages shall be adjusted by the amount of increases
in the federal minimum wage over $5.15 per hour, or, if
greater, by the cumulative increase in the cost of living.
Nev. Const, art. 15, § 16(A).
the MWA went into effect in 2006, the minimum wage was $5.15
per hour if an employer provided health benefits, and $6.15
if an employer did not provide health benefits. See
Nev. Const, art. 15, § 16(A). The MWA requires that
those wages be adjusted according to standards articulated in
the text of the MWA itself See id. Currently, as
adjusted and annually announced by the Office of the Labor
Commissioner, the upper-tier minimum wage is $8.25 per hour,
and the lower-tier minimum wage is $7.25. See Press
Release, State of Nevada Department of Business and Industry,
Nevada's minimum wage and daily overtime rates will
not increase in 2017 (March 30, 2017),
2017%20Minimum%20Wage%20Press%20Release.pdf. To pay an
employee the lower-tier minimum wage, the employer must
"provide[ 1 health benefits" to the employee. Nev.
Const, art. 15, ...