Wrongful Termination in Arizona
Most employment in Arizona is “at-will”. This means that the employment can be terminated at the will of the employer. Also, the employee has the right to end the work relationship as well. The termination can occur at any given time and for any legitimate purpose; therefore proving wrongful termination can be difficult in such an arrangement.
On the other hand, being able to terminate an employee at will does not mean that the employer can break any laws during the firing process. Even in an at-will employment setting, an Arizona employer can be held liable for wrongful termination. The following aspects of employment can create a basis for a wrongful termination or wrongful discharge claim in Arizona:
- Discrimination: Both federal and Arizona state laws prohibit employers from terminating an employee based on certain characteristics. These include race, religion, age, sex, disability, or national origin. Employees must base their decision to terminate on other factors such as work performance or attendance.
- Medical Conditions of the Employee: Employees in Arizona cannot be fired simply because they have a medical condition. Employers may not terminate an employee who has taken medical leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act. Also, firing an employee because they became pregnant may be considered wrongful termination.
- Legal Rights and Public Policy Issues: It may be considered wrongful termination if an employer fires a worker who is simply acting within their legal rights. For example, an employee who is called for jury duty (or other legal duties) cannot be terminated for performing their service. Employees cannot be fired for reporting instances of safety violations or harassment in the workplace
- Contractual Rights / Company Policies. If an employment contract is in place between the employer and employee, it should clearly spell out the termination procedures, including possible reasons for termination. If the employer disregards contract terms, it could be a violation. This is also true for policies contained in employee manuals and handbooks
So as you can see, a wrongful termination claim in Arizona will have a much better chance of success if it can be proven that the employer violated some law or a contract provision. It is not enough to simply argue that an employer acted unfairly in terminating the person.
An employment or wrongful termination lawyer can help provide the legal basis for recovering compensation. Proper remedies for wrongful termination include payment for lost wages, reinstatement to the previous occupation, and possibly other types of damages. A qualified Arizona lawyer can provided you more information if there is a legal basis for a claim
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Last Modified: 09-06-2012 08:36 AM PDT
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