Embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

A Path to Workplace Success in the Public Sector

Complying with State and Federal

Pregnancy Laws

Are you ready for the new FLSA salary threshold?


Don't Miss These Important HR News Updates and Events!

Embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

A Path to Workplace Success in the Public Sector

In today's interconnected world, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become not just buzzwords, but essential elements for any thriving public-sector workplace. Embracing DEI isn't just the right thing to do—it's also a strategic imperative for public entities aiming to attract and maintain a strong, positive, and productive workforce.

Here’s why DEI is important to HR in the public sector:

  • Representation: Public-sector organizations serve diverse communities. Having a workforce that reflects the diversity of these communities fosters trust and ensures that the needs and perspectives of all citizens are considered in policy making and service delivery.


  • Fairness and Equity: DEI initiatives promote fairness and equity in recruitment, hiring, promotion, and decision-making processes. HR departments need to implement policies and procedures that eliminate biases and create equal opportunities for all employees.

  • Innovation and Creativity: Diverse teams bring a variety of perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the table. In the public sector, this can lead to innovative solutions to complex challenges and more effective decision-making processes.

  • Employee Engagement and Retention: When employees feel valued, included, and respected, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work. DEI initiatives contribute to a positive organizational culture where employees feel comfortable being themselves and are motivated to contribute their best efforts.

  • Community Relations: Public-sector organizations are accountable to the communities they serve. Demonstrating a commitment to DEI not only enhances internal operations but also strengthens relationships with the public, fostering trust and credibility.

  • Social Responsibility: Public-sector organizations have a responsibility to promote social justice and equality. By championing DEI initiatives, HR departments can contribute to broader societal goals of creating a more inclusive and equitable society.

  • Effective Service Delivery: Understanding and respecting the diverse needs of constituents is essential for effective service delivery in the public sector. DEI initiatives help public-sector organizations better understand and respond to the needs of all citizens, leading to more responsive and equitable services.

Many public-sector entities are facing the challenge of attracting a sizable pool of qualified and quality candidates. DEI initiatives, promoted by HR and the leadership of the public entity, will assist in attracting high-caliber and skilled applicants as well as enhancing organizational reputation and public trust, both of which will help retain quality employees.

Complying with State and Federal

Pregnancy Laws

The federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) was enacted on June 27, 2023. On April 15, 2024, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its final regulations to carry out the law—the final regulations go into effect on June 18, 2024. Nevada has also provided comprehensive protections to pregnant workers since October 1, 2017, through the Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act (NPWFA) found in NRS 613.4353 to 613.4383. The federal PWFA does not replace federal, state, or local laws that are more protective of pregnant workers.

Both the federal and state PWFA laws require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees and applicants with known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions unless the accommodation causes the employer undue hardship. Other laws that the EEOC enforces may also provide additional protection from discrimination for employees or applicants based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

Below is a brief description of the similarities and differences between the federal and Nevada PWFAs.


  • Both the state and federal PWFAs apply to employers with 15 or more employees.
  • Both regulations aim to prevent discrimination and retaliation against pregnant employees or applicants based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions and provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy-related conditions in the workplace.
  • Both require covered employers to initiate the interactive process or reasonable accommodation and, if feasible, provide reasonable accommodation for pregnant employees or applicants, unless it causes undue hardship.
  • Both laws prohibit employers from placing an employee on leave or denying a job or other employment opportunity if reasonable accommodation can be provided that would allow the individual to continue to work. 


  • Accommodations differences.
  • State: NRS 613.438 (1) (d) states it is an unlawful employment practice to require an employee or applicant to accept an accommodation that the individual did not request or chooses not to accept.
  • Federal: 9 (Prohibited Acts (42. U.S.C. 2000gg-1) (b)) prohibits a covered entity from requiring a qualified employee or applicant to accept an accommodation other than one arrived at through the interactive process.
  • The EEOC guidance includes examples of some potential reasonable accommodations that could be provided to pregnant workers (e.g., ability to sit or drink water; receive appropriately sized uniforms; additional breaks to use the bathroom, eat, and rest).

For more information on NPWFA, please see the Pregnant Workers: Rights, Accommodations, and Leave HR Briefing or contact your POOL/PACT HR Business Partner for more information.

Are you ready for the new

FLSA salary threshold?

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently finalized a significant update regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) salary threshold for exempt employees, which could have a substantial fiscal impact on POOL/PACT member organizations. Employers who have exempt employees currently earning less than $43,888 per year will need to take action to remain in compliance with the FLSA.

The first wave of increases is effective July 1, 2024, and increases the standard salary level for exempt employees from $35,568 per year ($684 per week) to $43,888 per year ($844 per week), and the minimum salary for the highly compensated exemption increases to $132,964 per year. Salary levels increase again on January 1, 2025, with the standard salary level rising to $58,656 per year ($1,128 per week) and the highly compensated salary to $151,164. These thresholds will then continue to increase every three years starting July 2027.

Recommended action items:

  • Identify exempt employees earning less than $43,888 for necessary salary adjustments or potential status change to non-exempt.
  • Review job descriptions for accurate classification as exempt; consider non-exempt status where appropriate.
  • Calculate hourly rates for potential overtime costs if converting to non-exempt status.
  • Decide on implementation timing: before or on July 1, 2024, anticipating that the ruling may face potential legal challenges.
  • Plan for the next salary increase by January 1, 2025, with the option for earlier implementation.

POOL/PACT HR will continue to closely monitor this ruling and will communicate any updates to members as soon as possible.



I heard the federal government is decriminalizing marijuana. Does that mean I have to

let employees smoke pot on the job?


Reefer Madness


Dear Reefer,

Yes, it’s true that the Department of Justice has issued a Notice of Proposed

Rulemaking initiating a formal rulemaking process to consider reclassifying marijuana

from a Schedule I drug (e.g., heroin, LSD) to a Schedule III drug (e.g., ketamine, Tylenol with codeine) under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Unlike Schedule I drugs

which have no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,

Schedule III drugs have accepted medical uses with a moderate to low potential for physical or psychological dependence (but do require a valid prescription from a licensed health care provider to be legally obtained and used).

With that said, we could be months away from any changes being implemented. In fact, the proposed rule is subject to a public comment period and then a formal

administrative hearing will be conducted. After that process is completed, the Drug

Enforcement Administration will gather and consider information and views submitted by the public in order to make a determination about the appropriate schedule. This process could take up to a year.

But to be clear, even if it does get rescheduled, marijuana will still be a controlled

substance that is subject to federal rules and regulations. Furthermore, rescheduling

does not decriminalize marijuana or make it legal for recreational use on the federal


So, what does that mean to Nevada public-sector employers?

Not much for now. Until a final rule is published, marijuana remains a schedule I

controlled substance. As such, employers will need to continue to restrict on-the-job

recreational use (like alcohol or any other prohibited substance or illegal drug) but may have to accommodate employees who have a valid prescription for medical marijuana.

As you are aware, Nevada has decriminalized both medical and recreational marijuana, and state law requires employers to accommodate medical marijuana use under certain circumstances. However, employers who receive federal funds are subject to the Drug- Free Workplace Act (DFWA) of 1988 and cannot allow any employee to have any level of Schedule I or II drugs in their system. As such, while these employers must consider accommodations for medical marijuana, it is likely that allowing medical marijuana use by an employee would result in an undue hardship for the employer as it cannot allow any employee to use a Schedule I or II drug under the DFWA. However, if marijuana is rescheduled to a Schedule III drug, the DFWA would no longer be a hurdle for employers, and accommodations for medical use might need to be implemented on a case-by-case basis.

But for now, nothing has changed, and employers should continue to enforce their Drug-and Alcohol-free Workplace policy.

POOL/PACT HR will continue to track the proposed rule and update Members as

needed. Please feel free to contact your HR Business Partner with any questions you

may have.


POOL/PACT Human Resources (HR) Leadership Conference

October 30 & 31, 2024

Mark your calendar for our annual POOL/PACT HR Leadership Conference taking place October 30 & 31, 2024, at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Nevada. This event is an opportunity for HR professionals and other leaders from POOL/PACT member entities to connect with their public-sector peers from across Nevada, learn the latest in employment law and best practices, and enhance their leadership skills.

Be sure to stay up with the latest HR News on POOL/PACT's news page.

We have posted several updates recently including new regs for Title IX, FLSA, PWFA, and EEOC.

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