What is the legal definition of harassment in the workplace?
This section defines harassment for the purpose of getting an order for protection against harassment in the workplace.
Harassment in the workplace is when a person threatens or causes:
- Bodily injury to himself/herself or another person;
- Damage to the property of another person; or
- Substantial harm to the physical health, mental health or safety of a person.
Note: To qualify as harassment, the victim must reasonably fear that the harasser’s threat will be carried out and/or the harasser’s actions must reasonably cause the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated or harassed.1
1 N.R.S. § 33.240
What is an order for protection against harassment in the workplace and what types of orders are there?
An order for protection against harassment in the workplace is a written court order that is designed to stop violent and harassing behavior in the workplace and to protect an employer, employees, and other people present in the workplace.
A temporary order for protection against harassment in the workplace is an order that can be issued with or without prior notice to the harasser.1 To get an order without prior notice to the harasser (known as an ex parte order), the employer’s petition has to make the judge believe that the harasser will cause immediate and irreversible damage or injury if the order isn’t issued at that time.2 If the judge does not feel that the employer proved this, then the harasser will get a chance to come to court to argue his/her side before the judge issues the temporary order.3
A temporary order lasts for up to 15 days or until a hearing is held for an extended order for protection.4 If an ex parte order is issued, the harasser can file in court for an earlier hearing to ask that the order be dropped – the harasser would only have to give the employer 2 days’ notice of this hearing.5
An extended order lasts for up to one year.6 If the employer wants an extended order, s/he would file an application for an extended order during the 15 days or so that the temporary order is valid. The hearing for the extended order usually takes place within 10 days of when the employer files the application for the extended order.7
An extended order for protection against harassment in the workplace is awarded by a judge only after a hearing in which the employer and the harasser each have an opportunity to present evidence and tell their different sides of the story.
Note: A temporary order must be granted before an extended order can be requested.8
1 N.R.S. § 33.270(2),(3),(4)
2 N.R.S. § 33.270(4)(a)
3 N.R.S. § 33.270(3)
4 N.R.S. § 33.270(5)
5 N.R.S. § 33.270(9)
6 N.R.S. § 33.270(8)
7 N.R.S. § 33.270(5)-(6)
8 N.R.S. § 33.270(6)
Who can apply for an order for protection against harassment in the workplace? (Who is an employer?)
Any employer who reasonably believes that harassment in the workplace has taken place may file an application for a temporary order for protection against harassment in the workplace.1 An employer includes both private and public employers. A public employer could be the State of Nevada, agencies of the state, and political subdivisions of the state.2
1 N.R.S. § 33.250(1)
2 N.R.S. § 33.220
Who is considered to be an “employee” for the purposes of the order for protection?
An employee means any person who is employed by an employer. It could include someone who works part-time, full-time, or an independent contractor.1
1 See N.R.S. §§ 33.210, 33.220
Does my employer have to tell me if s/he is applying for an order for protection against harassment in the workplace based on me being harassed?
Most likely, yes. If an employer knows that you, specifically, have been the target of harassment in the workplace and the employer wants to apply for an order for protection due to this harassment, the employer must try to notify you before seeking an order for protection. However, if the employer is unable to reach you before s/he goes to court, it is possible that the judge will allow him/her to get the order anyway as long as the employer can prove s/he made a “good faith effort” to notify you.1
1 N.R.S. § 33.260
What protection can I get in an order for protection against harassment in the workplace?
Both a temporary and an extended order for protection against harassment in the workplace can:
- prevent the harasser from contacting the employer, an employee while s/he is performing duties of employment, and any person who is present at the workplace;
- order the harasser to stay away from the workplace; and
- order any other relief necessary to protect the employer, the workplace, the employees while they are performing duties of employment, and any other persons who are present at the workplace.1
1 N.R.S. § 33.280(1)
If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?
When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.
There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:
- The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
- One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
- If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.
However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.
You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.
Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.