If you live and work in the state of Arizona, you need to understand, and protect, your rights in the workplace. The state has enacted some very specific laws about employment, covering everything from workplace safety and protection from on-the-job injuries to discrimination and harassment at the office.
If you feel that your rights have been violated, the first step should be a review of the applicable Arizona employment laws. Some workplace situations arise from mere misunderstandings, and they are not necessarily a violation of law. Other issues are more serious, and they do rise to the level of a legal violation. Being able to tell one from the other is an essential part of protecting your rights and your employment in the state of Arizona. Here are some of the basics of employment law in Arizona and what you need to know.
Wage and Hour Laws in Arizona
Workers in the state of Arizona are covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a federal law that requires employers to pay their workers fairly and abide by certain standards. That means Arizona employers must abide by the minimum wage laws, and that they must pay overtime when applicable.
Arizona employers are required to pay the highest minimum wage, whether that minimum wage is set at the federal, state or local level. In addition, workers who earn tips as part of their job can be paid a lower hourly rate of pay, providing the tips bring the minimum wage to the lowest permissible level.
The FLSA also requires Arizona employers to pay time and a half for employees who work more than 40 hours in a single work week. It is important to note that some employees, like those in management and salaried positions, may be exempt from this overtime requirement. Employers are required to let their workers know if they are eligible for or exempt from overtime reporting.
Discrimination and Harassment Laws in Arizona
Arizona employers are subject to the strictures of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, another federal law designed to protect employees from workplace discrimination and on-the-job harassment. Specifically, the law prohibits employers from making hiring decisions based on the race, religion, color, sex or national origin of the applicant. The sex discrimination prohibition also applies to pregnancy, so Arizona employers cannot fire, or refuse to hire, a female worker because she is pregnant or planning to start a family.
Discrimination based on age, genetic information and disability is also prohibited under federal and state law in Arizona. If you feel you have been the victim of discrimination, either in the workplace or during the hiring and selection process, you should contact an experienced employment law attorney to protect your rights.
Your Right to Time Off Work In Arizona
Time off work is important, and Arizona law protects employees when they need to take time off for health reasons or to care for a seriously ill family member. It is important to note that most Arizona employers already offer their workers paid time off as part of their employee benefit packages.
These paid time off packages typically include vacation times, sick days, holidays and paid time off (PTO) benefits. Arizona does not currently require employers to provide paid sick days, although many do so on a voluntary basis.
Workplace Injuries and Safety
Protection from workplace injuries is a serious concern for many employees in Arizona, particularly those who work in potentially hazardous industries. From the factory floor to the meat packing plant, there are plenty of workplaces that can present safety hazards when not handled properly.
That is why the state of Arizona sets standards the employers must follows. These laws are designed to protect workers by requiring companies to provide a safe workplace, one that is free of known hazards. Under Arizona law, all employees, whether they work in an office, a factory, a meat packing plant or anywhere else, are entitled to a safe and healthy workplace.
The law also requires Arizona employers to make sure that all safety equipment is working properly, and that their workers are properly trained on the use of that safety equipment. Employees also have the right to request an inspection of their workplaces under the auspices of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, commonly known as OSHA. It is the job of OSHA to inspect workplaces and make sure they are free of hazards, and that the employer is complying with all applicable workplace safety laws.
Your Right When you Leave Your Job In Arizona
Employees are protected throughout all steps in the employment process. Discrimination laws protect employees from being denied an opportunity based on race, religion, national origin, age and a number of other factors. Laws prohibiting harassment protect employees from a toxic work environment and unwanted sexual harassment. Workplace safety rules mean that employees of Arizona companies are entitled to a workplace free from hazards and safety issues.
The law also provides protection for employees who are leaving their jobs. Whether that separation is voluntary or involuntary, certain protections apply to Arizona companies and the people they employ. It is important to note, however, that under Arizona law, employees generally work at-will.
That at-will designation means that employees can be fired at any time, and for any reason that is not specifically prohibited by law. At the same time, Arizona employers may not fire an at-will employee for reasons that meet the legal definition of discrimination. Employers are also prohibited from firing a worker in retaliation for reporting unsafe working conditions, sexual harassment or other illegal behavior on the part of the companies they work for. If you feel you have been discriminated against or fired unfairly, it is important to protect yourself. Talking to an employment law expert can protect your rights and help you succeed if a lawsuit is required.
Call our Employment Law team at (480) 464-1111 to discuss your case today.