Arizona Employee Termination Laws and Regulations
Arizona’s Employment Protection Act states that most interactions between employer and employee can be discontinued at will. This means that an employer has the right to discontinue the employee contract at any given time. The only exception, in the Arizona employee termination laws and regulations, to the at-will doctrine stems from a contract that specifies a certain period of time during which the respective worker has to be employed by the organization.
Arizona and the Employment Protection Act
A contract ends the at-will doctrine whenever it’s signed by both parties involved. In addition, the doctrine will not apply in instances when workers have been provided with a guidebook or an employee manual that specifies certain employment parameters.
Whenever a termination violates the terms of the contract or those of the Arizona Employment Protection Act, it will be known as wrongful termination. Wrongful termination can occur in the following cases:
- Whenever the work relationship ends by breaching the contract between employee and employer
- Whenever a violation of safety or health laws leads to the termination of the contract
- There is a contract termination that comes against either state or federal regulations
- The contract termination violates the employee’s civil rights
- The termination violates whistleblower laws and anti-discriminatory provisions
Discriminatory Firing and Contract Breaches
Employees are protected against the scenarios mentioned above. A termination that violates the employment contract or a disciplinary action following whistle-blowing on behalf of the employee can be contested.
Under federal law, discriminatory firing is prohibited. These federal laws apply to organizations in Arizona that employ at least 15 people. There are also state laws that provide additional types of protection against employer discrimination.
According to the Arizona employee termination laws and regulations, it’s also illegal for Arizona employers to retaliate against employees who have exercised their rights. A worker who reports a safety hazard, for example, cannot be fired just because of that action. This is a retaliatory act on behalf of the employer that will result in a wrongful termination.
Whenever you believe that you’ve been discriminated against or that a contract breach/retaliatory action has occurred, you will need to inform the respective authorities. You can file a charge on both state (the Arizona Civil Rights Division) and federal level (the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Once a signal gets submitted, you will also have the freedom to initiate a civil lawsuit against the employer.
Termination Pay Regulations
Workers who quit their job will have to be provided with a final termination payment.
Arizona employment laws state that the termination payment should occur on the next regular payday. In the case of a person being fired, they will also have to receive a termination payment either within a few days or by the next pay day (the sooner of the two will apply).
There are several types of payments that workers will be entitled to in the case of employment contract termination:
- Bonus payments
- Unpaid commissions
- The value of unused vacation days
- The value of unused sick leaves
- Any other payments that apply under the respective contract or employment police
The payment of a final wage is addressed in Arizona Revised Statutes 23-353. If a terminated employee does not get a timely payment, certain sanctions will apply. Arizona Revised Statutes 23-355 states that the employee can recover unpaid termination amounts in civil action. The sum recoverable is three times what the employer owes the respective worker.
If an employer is a few days late with such a final payment, pursuing legal action may not be the most financially-savvy decision. For long delays or a complete refusal to pay the final amount, however, taking the company to court will be the best way to protect your employment rights. Consult experienced employment attorneys in Arizona.