Was A Jury Used In Stock-Purchase Agreement Lawsuit For Facebook The Arizona Employment Protection Act and the Employment-At-Will Relationship

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The Arizona Employment Protection Act and the Employment-At-Will Relationship

Employers and employees in Arizona have an “at-will” relationship, which means that employers can fire employees without notice or cause, and employees can quit at any time without notice or reason. Of course, an at-will employment relationship is subject to both parties’ obligations to comply with other legal requirements, including contractual obligations and compliance with various federal and state harassment and discrimination laws.

To reduce wrongful terminations and related litigation, the Arizona Legislature enacted the Arizona Employment Protection Act in 1996. The statute established certain guidelines intended to clarify what is or is not a wrongful termination under Arizona law. Prior to the Arizona Employment Protection Act, employers faced numerous claims based on alleged oral promises and implied undertakings, with varying outcomes depending on the judge or jury. A number of these outcomes served to expand the employee’s right to sue in ways that the Legislature found unacceptable.

The Arizona Employment Protection Act contains at least four important provisions that all Arizona employers and employees should be aware of:

First, there is a one-year statute of limitations for claims for breach of employment contract or wrongful dismissal. This means that such claims must be brought within one year of the date of termination, significantly shortening the six-year contractual limitation period that previously applied to certain claims. However, it should be noted that this limitation period does not apply to claims under the Arizona Civil Rights Act or under federal law that arise from unlawful discrimination based on, among other things, race, sex, disability, or age.

Second, there is an established presumption that employment can be terminated at will, and this presumption will apply unless there is an express written agreement to the contrary. Typically, this will require a written contract signed by both parties or an unambiguous warranty described in an employee handbook or handbook.

Third, the Arizona Employee Protection Act limits wrongful termination lawsuits by employees to claims for breach of contract (described above), claims specifically permitted by Arizona statute, and “public policy” tort claims. It is important to note that even these claims are limited to cases where the relevant law does not itself provide a remedy. Tort claims include circumstances where an employee is fired for refusing to break the law, or blowing the whistle on an employer they believe is breaking the law.

Finally, the Act expands sexual harassment claims so that some such claims may be brought even where federal sexual harassment laws do not apply.

Ultimately, the Arizona Employment Protection Act creates a legal environment in which it can be very difficult to successfully file a lawsuit against an Arizona employer. Of course, every situation is different and the law is constantly changing, and if you believe that your rights have been violated or you have been accused of wrongdoing, you should speak with an experienced Arizona employment law attorney to determine what your rights and responsibilities are.

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