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Scottsdale Employment Law Blog

Know the employer penalties for misclassifying employees

When an employer misclassifies an employee, either purposefully or negligently, they may face a number of penalties, depending on the severity of the misclassification. A worker who suspects he or she suffers from misclassification may file a suit that not only addresses their own concerns but also sheds light on larger endemic issues within the employer's practices.

The suit may potentially incur significant tax penalties for the employer, while also helping to secure back wages and additional compensation.

Arizona employees and medical marijuana

As greater numbers of states throughout the country continue to advance marijuana legalization efforts, employees often find themselves between a rock and a hard place, legally speaking. Here in Arizona, it seems as though it is only a matter of time before the drug receives some form of widespread legalization, as legislators regularly introduce legislation to that effect.. However, even in states where the drug is legal, employers may not treat employees who use the drug legally in a fair way.

Here in Arizona, we are one of only a handful of states that maintain laws protecting medical marijuana users from discrimination in the workplace, but that may not keep an employer from discriminatory practices anyway. In many instances, employees applying for jobs must sign drug-free workplace policies intended to cede their rights to medical marijuana to the employer, or an employer may simply fire or otherwise punish an employee who legally uses the drug under the state-level exemptions.

Protecting your nursing license during an Arizona State Board of Nursing investigation

You may have always wanted to be a nurse, but at some point in your nursing education or in the first few years on the job, you realized you had a passion for the work. The satisfaction of helping people in a personal and meaningful way often made the long, exhausting hours worthwhile. Nursing for you is an ideal way to achieve personal fulfillment and to support your family at the same time.

However, you are only human. As much as your profession expects you to be a superhero, some days you just can't be everything for everyone. Now that you are facing disciplinary actions following complaints of professional misconduct, the job you love and need may be on the line.

Is your boss committing wage theft?

Your time is precious to you, especially if you have a family. While your job is important for supporting your family and providing for their needs, you look forward to clocking out and going home. You may be willing to go the extra mile for your employer, but sometimes, you feel as if your boss is taking advantage of you.

Certainly, there are times when you might stay late to finish a project or attend a weekend meeting, but should your employer pay you for those times even if you volunteer? If you are a nonexempt or hourly employee, the Fair Labor Standards Act protects you from employer practices that might be unfair to you, particularly when it comes to pay.

Elements of wrongful termination

Whenever an employer lets you go, it feel frustrating and scary, or may even feel as though you were terminated unfairly. If your termination brings up a strong emotional response, it is not always easy to clarify in the moment whether your employer fired you fairly or not. However, once the sting of the termination has some time to mellow, it is wise to carefully examine the circumstances of your firing. You may find that it does include one or more element of a wrongful termination, and may have grounds to pursue legal action against your former employer.

In very broad terms, a wrongful termination means that an employer broke some law in the act of firing you. This may include

  • Terminations that violate laws against discrimination in the workplace
  • Terminations that do not align with a written or spoken employment agreement
  • Terminations that violate specific labor laws
  • Terminations that result from an employee filing a complaint or legal claim adjacent the employer
  • Terminations that act as a form of sexual harassment

Considering severance package terms

When an employer makes you a severance offer, you may have a number of competing reactions. On one hand, many employees fear termination from an employer, especially if they face difficulty transitioning into another job. On the other hand, severance pay often feels like a windfall when it occurs, sometimes blinding an employee to unfair terms in the offer.

If you recently received a severance offer, you must consider a number of issues before you accept. Otherwise, you may face restrictions on future opportunities, or may simply leave money on the table on your way out the door.

Should I consider waiving my age discrimination rights?

Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), aging employees have protections against age discriminate in the workplace. Older employees are often some of the most vulnerable to unfair practices, especially as the business world continues to change and evolve at a rapid pace. Without these protections, workers may see themselves sidelined well before they can afford to retire.

However, it is becoming increasingly common for employers to ask older employees to waive their age discriminate rights in order to receive a severance package or similar consideration. In many cases, this is a reasonable request that ultimately benefits the employee and the employer alike, but it is always wise to carefully consider the matter before waiving rights in the workplace.

Resolving a salary calculation dispute

Many workers face regular conflict with their employer, which is a normal part of business to one degree or another. However, some workers face unfair pay for their work, and may have grounds to take legal action to recover lost wages. In instances like these, workers have a few options.

In general, an employee may either choose to sue the employer individually or report the violation to regulatory agencies that oversee fair work practices, and push the agency to investigate the matter and pursue a suit against the employer. Some workers choose to use the regulatory agency's power to enforce fair pay, but this often takes a much longer time to process than a civil suit might. Also, an entity such as the Secretary of Labor may only step in if the dispute involves a particular kind violation, such as unpaid overtime, and once such a party files suit against an employer or oversees back payment of wages, the worker may not also file a private lawsuit.

Wrongfully terminated after an illegal workplace drug test?

If you have ever looked for a new job, you probably read many ads on employment search websites or local newspapers. You may have found among the education and experience qualifications a statement explaining that your employment with the company would be contingent on your passing a drug test. Soon after your new employer formally extended you a contract, you probably went to a medical center or lab and gave a urine sample.

Now that you are an employee, you may be subject to random drug testing. No matter your personal feelings about recreational drug use, you may have concerns about how an employer will conduct these tests and how a negative test might affect more than the security of your job. To protect your rights in these circumstances, it is good to understand the law regarding drug tests for new hires and established employees.

New bill seeks to remove employee rights

Many employees face unfair sexual discrimination or even sexual assault in the workplace, and if the widespread revelations of harassment in 2017 are any indication, the issue of inappropriate behavior in professional settings affects every business sector.

For many employees, it is too painful or personally costly to properly file claims based on this type of behavior while still in the workplace with their abuser, and it is preferable for them to wait until some later time to go on the record with allegations of sexual misconduct.