Labor and Employment Law Overview: North Dakota

This item is part of Labor and Employment Law Overview: Federal

Author: XpertHR Editorial Team

Summary

  • North Dakota law prohibits an employer from discriminating and retaliating against employees in a variety of protected classes. See EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations.
  • North Dakota permits abilities testing and medical exams, but with restrictions. See Recruiting and Hiring.
  • In North Dakota, there are many requirements relating to the minimum wage, overtime, meal breaks and child labor. See Wage and Hour.
  • North Dakota has a number of laws that relate to employee pay and benefits, including health care continuation, paydays, pay statement requirements and wage deductions. See Pay and Benefits.
  • Under North Dakota law, employees are entitled to certain leaves, including jury duty, witness and volunteer emergency responder leave. See Attendance and Leave.
  • North Dakota law requires an employer to provide a smoke-free working environment. See Health and Safety.
  • North Dakota law dictates termination pay requirements. See Organizational Exit.

Introduction to Employment Law in North Dakota

North Dakota is generally considered an employer-friendly state.

Select North Dakota 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 North Dakota requirements impacting EEO, diversity and employee relations are:

North Dakota Human Rights Act

The North Dakota Human Rights Act (NDHRA) applies to employers with one or more employees for more than one-quarter of the year and prohibits discrimination based on:

  • Race;
  • Color;
  • National origin;
  • Religion;
  • Sex (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions);
  • Disability (physical or mental);
  • Age (40 years or older);
  • Marital status;
  • Public assistance status; and
  • Engaging in lawful activity outside of work that is not in direct conflict with the essential business-related interests of the employer.

The NDHRA specifically prohibits sexual harassment. However, harassment based on any protected characteristic is a form of illegal discrimination under the NDHRA.

Absent undue hardship or other limited circumstances, North Dakota employers must provide reasonable accommodations for certain protected classifications, including:

  • Disability;
  • Pregnancy; and
  • Religion.

The North Dakota Human Rights Act also prohibits retaliation against a person who opposes any unlawful discriminatory practice or who, in good faith, files a complaint, testifies, assists or participates in an investigation, proceeding, hearing or litigation under the Act.

Equal Pay for Men and Women Act

North Dakota's Equal Pay for Men and Women Act prohibits an employer from discriminating on the basis of sex in the amount of compensation paid to any employee. An employer is also prohibited from retaliating against an employee for making a complaint or testifying in any proceeding under the Act.

Whistleblower Protection

Under North Dakota law, an employer may not discipline, penalize or take any adverse employment action against an employee for:

  • Refusing an employer's order to perform an action that the employee believes is illegal;
  • Reporting an employer's violation or suspected violation of state or federal laws or regulations; or
  • Cooperating in an investigation, hearing or inquiry into alleged legal violations.

Employee Blacklisting

North Dakota employers may not discriminate against or discipline employees for their participation, or refusal to participate, in labor activities.

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 North Dakota can be found in the North Dakota Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Disabilities (ADA): North Dakota, EEO - Discrimination: North Dakota, EEO - Harassment: North Dakota, EEO - Retaliation: North Dakota, Employee Discipline: North Dakota and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in North Dakota? Federal requirements can be found in Disabilities (ADA): Federal, EEO - Discrimination: Federal, EEO - Harassment: Federal, EEO - Retaliation: Federal and Employee Discipline: Federal.

Recruiting and Hiring

Key North Dakota requirements impacting recruiting and hiring are:

Ability Tests

A North Dakota employer may administer and act upon the results of any professionally developed ability test as long as the test and the administration of the test are not designed to discriminate based on a protected characteristic and do not have a discriminatory impact.

Medical Exams

North Dakota law prohibits medical examinations and inquiries about an applicant's health history prior to an offer of employment. However, after a conditional offer of employment is made, a North Dakota employer may require a physical exam and/or medical history investigation for the purpose of determining a person's capability to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodations as long as every entering employee in the same job category is subjected to the same type of examination or investigation.

Security Clearance Screening

A North Dakota employer may refuse to hire a person based on that person's failure to fulfill a requirement of a security program administered under a statute of the United States or an executive order of the president.

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 North Dakota can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: North Dakota and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in North Dakota? Federal requirements can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: Federal.

Wage and Hour

Key North Dakota requirements impacting wages and hours are:

Minimum Wage

North Dakota's minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, the same as the federal minimum wage, with certain exceptions.

Overtime

North Dakota law generally requires an employer to pay covered employees overtime at a rate of one and one-half times the regular rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek.

An employer must calculate overtime on a weekly basis regardless of the length of the pay period. Paid holidays, paid time off and sick leave are not counted in calculating overtime hours. Hours worked may not be averaged over the pay period or used to offset shorter weeks.

Meal Breaks

North Dakota law requires an employer to provide a meal period of at least 30 consecutive minutes if the following two conditions exist:

  • An employee works more than five consecutive hours; and
  • There are two or more employees on duty.

The meal period may be unpaid if the employee is completely relieved of duties the entire time.

Child Labor

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

North Dakota law establishes a minimum age of 14 to be employed and restricts 14- and 15-year-olds from working in numerous occupations, including:

  • Cooking, baking, grilling or frying;
  • Manufacture, disposition or use of explosives;
  • Work in a mine or quarry;
  • Manufacture of goods for an immoral purpose;
  • Door-to-door sales of any kind;
  • Construction, with exceptions; and
  • Any other employment that may be considered dangerous to life or limb or in which health may be injured or morals depraved.

Minors are permitted to:

  • Do ordinary farm labor or operate farm machinery;
  • Work as a singer or musician in a church, school or academy, or in any school or home talent exposition given by the people of a local community; and
  • Act or perform in a theater or amusement park if permission is obtained from the minor's parent or guardian, and the Labor Commissioner determines that the minor's appearance will not be detrimental to the minor's morals, health, safety, welfare or education.

Minors who are 14 or 15 years of age may work:

  • From 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (9:00 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day);
  • Up to three hours per day on school days, or eight hours on nonschool days; and
  • Up to 18 hours a week during school weeks, or 40 hours during nonschool weeks.

North Dakota requires minors to have an Employment and Age Certificate to work.

Minors may be exempt from some or all child labor laws under certain conditions, including:

  • Work for and under the direct supervision of a minor's parent or guardian who is the sole owner of the business;
  • Work in domestic service; and
  • Newspaper delivery.

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 North Dakota can be found in the North Dakota Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Minimum Wage: North Dakota, Overtime: North Dakota, Hours Worked: North Dakota, Child Labor: North Dakota, North Dakota Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in North Dakota? Federal requirements can be found in Minimum Wage: Federal, Overtime: Federal, Hours Worked: Federal and Child Labor: Federal.

Pay and Benefits

Key North Dakota requirements impacting pay and benefits are:

Health Care Continuation

Under North Dakota's health care continuation coverage law, an employer must offer up to 39 weeks of coverage to an employee and his or her covered dependents who lose coverage due to termination of employment or loss of eligibility under the plan. Unlike federal continuation coverage under COBRA, North Dakota continuation coverage is available regardless of the reason for the termination.

Continuation coverage does not have to include dental, vision, prescription drug or any other benefits provided under the group policy other than hospital, surgical or major medical benefits.

Paydays

North Dakota law requires an employer to pay all wages due to an employee at least once each calendar month on regular paydays specified by the employer in advance.

Pay Statements

With each wage payment, a North Dakota employer must provide employees with a pay statement showing:

  • Hours worked;
  • Pay rate;
  • Deductions required by state and federal law; and
  • Any deductions authorized by the employee.

Wage Deductions

Other than amounts an employer is required to withhold by state and federal law, or a court order, North Dakota law prohibits an employer from withholding or diverting employee wages except in strictly limited circumstances, including:

  • Advances paid to employees, other than undocumented cash;
  • A recurring deduction authorized by an employee in writing;
  • A nonrecurring deduction authorized by an employee in writing, if the source of the deduction is specifically noted; and
  • A nonrecurring deduction for damage, breakage, shortage or negligence if authorized by the employee at the time of the deduction.

A North Dakota employer may require an employee to purchase uniforms if the cost of the uniforms does not bring the employee's wage below the hourly minimum wage for all hours worked during that pay period.

A North Dakota employer is prohibited from taking any adverse employment action against an employee because he or she is subject to an income withholding order (IWO) and may not terminate an employee because his or her wages have been garnished by a creditor.

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 North Dakota can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): North Dakota, Payment of Wages: North Dakota, Involuntary and Voluntary Pay Deductions: North Dakota and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in North Dakota? Federal requirements can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): Federal, Payment of Wages: Federal and Involuntary and Voluntary Pay Deductions: Federal.

Attendance and Leave

North Dakota has fewer laws relating to required leaves for employees than many other states, but does have mandated leave laws such as:

  • Jury duty;
  • Witness leave; and
  • Volunteer emergency responder leave.

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 North Dakota can be found in the North Dakota Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Jury Duty: North Dakota, Other Leaves: North Dakota, and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in North Dakota? Federal requirements can be found in Jury Duty: Federal and Other Leaves: Federal.

Health and Safety

North Dakota's Smoke-Free Law prohibits smoking (including e-cigarettes) in all enclosed areas of places of employment. A North Dakota employer must post the North Dakota Smoke-Free Signage poster in a conspicuous manner at all entrances to the workplace.

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 requirements in North Dakota can be found in the North Dakota Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Employee Health: North Dakota, North Dakota Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in North Dakota? Federal requirements can be found in Employee Health: Federal.

Organizational Exit

Upon termination (either voluntary or involuntary), North Dakota law provides that all wages are due to the employee by the next regular payday. Involuntarily terminated employees may be paid by certified mail at an address designated by the employee or as otherwise agreed.

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 termination pay practices in North Dakota can be found in Payment of Wages: North Dakota. Federal Requirements can be found in Payment of Wages: Federal.