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Scottsdale Employment Law Blog

What you should know about non-competition agreements

You're thinking about accepting an offer from another company that would mean more money and seniority or perhaps the chance to get in on the ground floor of an exciting new enterprise. However, you're concerned about that non-competition agreement you signed back when you were hired by your current employer.

Most people don't give much thought to signing these agreements because they generally aren't relevant until or unless they leave the company. However, they can prevent you from moving forward in your career if you're staying in the same industry.

What to look out for before you sign that severance agreement

If you've been offered a severance package upon losing your job, you're likely relieved that at least your income and benefits will continue for some time as you look for another job (or take a long-needed vacation).

However, before you sign that severance agreement, make sure you understand what you're agreeing to. If you violate any of the terms, you may not only lose that income, but you find yourself in legal jeopardy.

Unwise social media use can cost you your nursing license

Nursing can be a highly stressful profession. During your off-hours, it's only reasonable that you might want to relax by looking at videos of cats, baby goats and other light, soothing images on social media. However, when it comes to posting things, you need to be careful of how you're representing the nursing profession, your employer and the patients with whom you interact.

Inappropriate social media posts can lead to job loss and malpractice lawsuits. They can also put your nursing license and your career in jeopardy. Other electronic communications, such as emails and texts, can also cause trouble.

Retaliation is a serious problem in the workplace

Too often, employees who are being harassed or discriminated against at work hesitate to make a complaint out of fear that a boss or colleagues will retaliate against them -- only making the situation worse. They need their jobs, so they deal with the behavior -- sometimes to the detriment of their own mental and physical health.

Those fears of retaliation aren't unfounded. However, it's also possible to take action against a company for retaliation. In fact, approximately 45 percent of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaints involve retaliation.

Should I get a lunch break at work?

As much as you enjoy your job, everyone needs a break. You may anticipate your break by preparing a lunch the night before or stocking your locker with your favorite snack. You may keep a paperback novel in your desk drawer or have a standing appointment with a co-worker to discuss last night's game.

If your Arizona employer provides a lunch break off the clock, you can consider yourself fortunate. You may not realize that there is no federal law requiring employers to allow workers to take a lunch break or a rest break during the day. While several states have passed their own laws and statues mandating time for employees to take a break, Arizona is not among them. However, when a company's policy includes breaks, the company must follow the rules of the United States Department of Labor.

Arizona age discrimination case to be heard by U.S. Supreme Court

When the U.S. Supreme Court returns to work the first Monday in October, one of the cases on its docket will involve a discrimination suit that originated in a small fire district here in Arizona. Two men sued the Mount Lemmon Fire District, claiming that they were terminated because of their age.

The district claimed that the two fire captains, who were both hired in 2000, were terminated in 2009 because they hadn't volunteered for shifts to fight wildfires. The men filed a discrimination suit, arguing that they were terminated because they were the two oldest employees in the rural district -- at 45 and 54 years old. They were replaced by younger firefighters with less experience.

Were you the victim of 'constructive discharge?'

Employees who are the victims of something called "constructive discharge" may not even realize it. Sometimes referred to as "constructive termination" or "corrective dismissal," it's when an employer intentionally makes working conditions so unbearable for an employee that he or she has no alternative but to quit.

It's a form of wrongful termination. Just as in traditional wrongful termination cases, an employee may be able to take legal action against the employer.

When should behavioral health professionals report an arrest?

Behavior health professionals here in Arizona and throughout the country provide vital services to their patients and the larger community. Vulnerable people place their trust and well-being in their hands.

All applicants for licensure and those behavioral health professionals currently holding licenses are required to report any misdemeanor or felony charge brought against them to the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners if the charge involves conduct that could be considered a threat to patient safety.

Arizona state employee terminated while battling cancer

The termination of an Arizona State Parks & Trails (ASPT) employee while she taking time away from her job under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has come under media scrutiny. The woman, who has eye cancer, has also been taking care of her elderly mother who suffers from dementia.

The 59-year-old woman, who has worked as both an outreach events coordinator and ranger for ASPT over her nearly 20-year career, says she would have been eligible to retire with full pension benefits in less than a year. That is now gone, along with her health insurance, which she'll lose at the end of June.

Health care professionals and addiction: You are not alone

If you are like many nurses, you love your job. In fact, you may identify as a nurse more than many of your other callings, such as being a spouse, a parent or a friend. It is your compassion and concern for others that drew you to the profession. While the reality of the job may not be exactly what you imagined as a student in nursing school, the privilege of helping others through a moment of crisis is what carries you through the day.

However, you are facing your own crisis now. Like approximately 20 percent of your nursing colleagues, you are struggling with an addiction. Not only does this problem place your health and career in jeopardy, but it may also place your patients at risk. If you hesitate to seek help because you fear it could cost you your job, there are options available that will provide you with a chance to seek recovery, perhaps without giving up your nursing license.