In Arizona, unless a contract or the law otherwise provides, an employee is employed ”at will.” That means an employer can terminate an employee for no reason or any reason at all, so long as the reason is not one that violates applicable law. If, however, an employee has a contract that specifies a term of employment, then, in addition to any applicable laws, the terms of the contract generally govern the grounds for termination.
There are state and federal laws that may apply when an employer terminates an employee, including laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender, race, age, disability, military service, and national origin. Other laws prohibit sexual harassment and retaliation for whistle blowing. Other laws regulate medical leave and terminating employees when a company shuts down a plant. Whether these laws apply to any given employer may depend on a number of factors, including the number of employees the employer employs during a specific timeframe and whether the employer is a private or governmental entity.
Certain wrongful termination claims must be timely brought to the attention of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and/or the Arizona Attorney General’s Office by way of a formal written charge. Failure to do so in a timely manner may cause the claim to be barred from ever being pursued in a court of law.
Some employers carry Employer’s Practices Liability Insurance that may cover wrongful termination claims.
At Berk Law Group, P.C. we have handled a number of cases involving wrongful termination, including cases involving breach of contract, whistle blowing, sexual harassment, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
If you have questions regarding a dispute or claim in this area of the law, please give us a call.