Labor and Employment Law Overview: Nebraska

Labor and Employment Law Overview requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: XpertHR Editorial Team

Summary

  • State law prohibits an employer from discriminating and retaliating against employees in a variety of protected classes. See EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations.
  • Nebraska restricts applicant polygraph, drug and alcohol, genetic and medical testing. See Recruiting and Hiring.
  • In Nebraska, there are requirements relating to the minimum wage, meal breaks and child labor. See Wage and Hour.
  • Nebraska has a number of laws that relate to employee pay and benefits, including health care continuation, paydays, pay statements and wage deductions. See Pay and Benefits.
  • Under Nebraska law, employees are entitled to a number of leaves, including family military leave, military leave, voting leave, jury duty leave and volunteer emergency responder leave. See Attendance and Leave.
  • Smoking is prohibited in indoor workplaces. See Health and Safety.
  • A Nebraska employer must abide by final paycheck and job reference requirements. See Organizational Exit.

Introduction to Employment Law in Nebraska

Nebraska is considered to be both an employee- and employer-friendly state.

Select Nebraska employment requirements are summarized below to help an employer understand the range of employment laws affecting the employer-employee relationship in the state. An employer must comply with both federal and state law.

An employer must also comply with applicable municipal law obligations affecting the employment relationship, in addition to complying with state and federal requirements.

EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations

Key Nebraska requirements impacting EEO, diversity and employee relations are:

Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act

The Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating on the basis of the following characteristics:

  • Race;
  • Color;
  • Sex (including pregnancy);
  • National origin;
  • Marital status;
  • Disability; and
  • Religion.

Nebraska Age Discrimination in Employment Act

The Nebraska Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits employers with 20 or more employees from discriminating on the basis of age (40 years and older).

Nebraska Equal Pay Act (NEPA)

The Nebraska Equal Pay Act (NEPA) prohibits employers with two or more employees from paying wage differentials on the basis of sex. Nothing in NEPA prohibits employers from basing wage differentials on a nondiscriminatory seniority or merit system or on some lawful factor other than sex (e.g., the employee's production level).

Retaliation

Under Nebraska's antidiscrimination laws, an employer may not retaliate against individuals who oppose discriminatory employment practices or who file a charge or testify, participate or assist in proceedings under applicable law.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on EEO, diversity and employee relations practices in Nebraska can be found in the Nebraska Employee Handbook Table of Contents, EEO - Discrimination: Nebraska, EEO - Harassment: Nebraska, EEO - Retaliation: Nebraska, Disabilities (ADA): Nebraska, Nebraska Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Nebraska? Federal requirements can be found in EEO - Discrimination: Federal, EEO - Harassment: Federal, EEO - Retaliation: Federal and Disabilities (ADA): Federal.

Recruiting and Hiring

Key Nebraska requirements affecting recruiting and hiring are:

Polygraph Testing

A prospective employer may not require as a condition of employment that an applicant submit to a polygraph or lie detector test unless such employment involves public law enforcement. However, an employer may ask an applicant to sit for a polygraph or lie detector test under certain circumstances.

Drug and Alcohol Testing

A Nebraska employer generally may conduct drug and alcohol testing as a condition of employment, but state law establishes specific testing criteria.

Genetic Testing

An employer may not require an applicant to submit to genetic testing as a condition of employment.

Medical Examinations

An employer may require a medical examination after making an employment offer to a job applicant, and may condition the offer on the results of the examination under certain circumstances. The employer must pay the cost of the examination.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on recruiting and hiring practices in Nebraska can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: Nebraska. Federal requirements can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: Federal.

Wage and Hour

Key Nebraska requirements impacting wages and hours are:

Minimum Wage

Nebraska employers must pay employees a minimum wage of $9.00 per hour, with certain exceptions, such as certain student workers, trainees and tipped employees. Nebraska's minimum wage requirements apply to employers employing four or more employees at any one time.

Meal Breaks

Employers that own or operate assembly plants, workshops or mechanical establishments must provide employees with a meal break of at least 30 consecutive minutes in each eight-hour shift. Employees must be relieved of all duties and may not be required to remain in the building or on the premises where their labor is performed.

Child Labor

Child labor laws in Nebraska restrict the occupations in which minors may be employed and the number of hours and times during which they may work.

All minors are generally prohibited from working in a job that is dangerous or where "his or her morals may be depraved."

Minors under the age of 16 may not work:

  • More than eight hours in one day;
  • More than 48 hours in one week; or
  • Before 6 a.m. or after 8 p.m. if they are under the age of 14, or after 10 p.m. if they are between 14 and 16 years old.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on wage and hour practices in Nebraska can be found in the Nebraska Employee Handbook Table of ContentsMinimum Wage: Nebraska, Hours Worked: Nebraska, Child Labor: Nebraska, Nebraska Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Nebraska? Federal requirements can be found in Minimum Wage: Federal, Hours Worked: Federal and Child Labor: Federal.

Pay and Benefits

Key Nebraska requirements impacting pay and benefits are:

Health Care Continuation

Nebraska employers with fewer than 20 employees generally must offer health care continuation coverage to their employees and their dependents. Continuation coverage is available only when the employee dies or is involuntarily terminated (unless for misconduct) and only for up to six months.

Paydays

A Nebraska employer must pay all wages due on regular days that are:

  • Designated by the employer; or
  • Agreed upon by the employer and employee.

An employer must provide employees with 30 days' written notice before changing paydays.

Pay Statements

An employer must provide a pay statement to each employee on payday that includes the following information:

  • Employer's identity;
  • Hours for which the employee is being paid;
  • Amount of wages earned by the employee for the pay period; and
  • Deductions taken from the employee's pay.

Wage Deductions

An employer may make the following types of deductions from employees' wages:

  • Those required by state or federal law; and
  • Those expressly authorized in writing by an employee (e.g., for health insurance, retirement, breakages, uniforms or cash shortages).

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on pay and benefits practices in Nebraska can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): Nebraska, Involuntary and Voluntary Pay Deductions: Nebraska, Payment of Wages: Nebraska and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Nebraska? Federal requirements can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): Federal, Involuntary and Voluntary Pay Deductions: Federal and Payment of Wages: Federal.

Attendance and Leave

Nebraska has several laws related to required leaves for employees, such as:

  • Family Military Leave Act (covering employers with 15 or more employees);
  • Military leave;
  • Voting leave;
  • Election official leave;
  • Jury duty leave; and
  • Volunteer emergency responder leave (covering employers with 10 or more employees).

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on attendance and leave practices in Nebraska can be found in the Nebraska Employee Handbook Table of ContentsFMLA: Nebraska, Other Leaves: Nebraska, USERRA: Nebraska, Jury Duty: Nebraska and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Nebraska? Federal requirements can be found in FMLA: Federal, Other Leaves: Federal, USERRA: Federal and Jury Duty: Federal.

Health and Safety

The Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in a public place or a place of employment, but does not prohibit or restrict smoking in outdoor areas.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on health and safety practices in Nebraska can be found in the Nebraska Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Employee Health: Nebraska and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Nebraska? Federal requirements can be found in Employee Health: Federal.

Organizational Exit

Key Nebraska requirements impacting organizational exit are:

Final Paycheck

Terminated employees must be paid their final wages (including accrued vacation pay) by the next regular payday or within two weeks of the date of termination, whichever is earlier.

References

With the employee's written consent, an employer may disclose certain information to a prospective employer, including the employee's job description and duties, recent drug testing results and most recent performance evaluation.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on organizational exit practices in Nebraska can be found in Payment of Wages: Nebraska, Employee Communications: Nebraska and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Nebraska? Federal requirements can be found in Payment of Wages: Federal and Employee Communications: Federal.