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Bill seeks to define ‘independent contractor’

A bill seeking to define independent contractors in Nevada ran into stiff opposition in a Senate committee hearing Monday with critics arguing it would prevent some minimum wage workers from recouping unpaid wages and help employers avoid taxes.

But backers of Senate Bill 224 said clarification in state law is needed following recent court rulings, including a decision from the Nevada Supreme Court that found exotic dancers at a Las Vegas strip club were employees — not independent contractors — entitled to an hourly minimum wage.

Zev Kaplan, a Las Vegas lawyer, said recent court decisions noted the Legislature never adopted its own test or standards defining an independent contractor. The bill sets out eight factors to determine an employee from an independent contractor.

The bill also would prohibit a worker from recouping unpaid wages in a class-action lawsuit unless they specifically sign on as a plaintiff. Another provision would extend that prohibition retroactively.

Some committee members were openly confused by the bill and complained of not being briefed on it before the hearing.

Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, D-Las Vegas, chided the “laziness of lobbyists,” and called the process “disgusting.” The bill was introduced Friday.

No action was taken by the committee and Chairman Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, told parties involved to work on amendments.

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