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Scottsdale Employment Law Blog

What is age discrimination?

When you graduated from college, people who were over 40 seemed like senior citizens. Now that 40 is in the rear view mirror, it doesn't seem old at all. You have knowledge, experience, patience and people skills that you lacked when you were starting your career. You're an asset to your company.

Unfortunately, too many employers are looking for younger people. Maybe they think they have better tech skills or are faster learners. They may fit the image the company wants to project. They also don't have to be paid as much or use as many benefits as someone who's been with the company for decades.

What Arizona's next minimum wage increase means for workers

On Jan. 1, 2019, the third of four steps approved by voters to raise Arizona's minimum wage will begin. In 2016, Arizonans approved a plan to incrementally raise the minimum wage so that in 2020 it will be $12 per hour. In 2019, it will be $11.00 -- up from the current minimum of $10.50.

Employees who earn part of their income from tips are too often shortchanged when it comes to minimum wage laws. However, Arizona employees who earn at least $3.00 in tips per hour must be paid an hourly minimum wage of $8.00 beginning in the new year.

Judge rules against state lawmaker expelled for sexual harassment

This February, Arizona's House of Representatives voted nearly unanimously (56 to 3) to expel one of its own, Rep. Don Shooter, after multiple accusations of sexual harassment were made against him. The vote came after a law firm hired by the legislative body to investigate the allegations found "credible evidence" that he had harassed a minimum of seven women.

The first woman to publicly accuse him was a colleague in the House -- Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita. She's also filed a lawsuit against him for defamation as well as battery, saying that he harmed her reputation after she reported what she says was a pattern of harassment. Shooter has countersued her.

Surprising ways to jeopardize your nursing license

Confidence is probably something that came to you over time. In the beginning of your studies to be a nurse, you may have had moments when you felt overwhelmed and even considered dropping your plans. However, you now wear the scrubs and carry the stethoscope, and your work is an important and rewarding part of your life.

While you may be confident in your nursing skills, it is important not to become complacent. Thousands of nurses have found their licenses and their careers in jeopardy because they relaxed their vigilance on and off the job.

Restaurant workers most vulnerable to wage theft

For some, working in food services is a stepping stone, making them money to pay the bills until something else comes along. For others, the restaurant industry is a calling, and they have a gift for making diners feel welcome and at home. No matter which group you fall into, one thing is for certain. You typically work extremely hard for less money than you deserve.

Because of this, when your employer rips you off, it makes a difference in your standard of life. You have probably dealt with managers and restaurant owners who find sneaky ways to steal your wages. It is frustrating, and you may feel powerless, but you do have options for fighting for your fair wages.

Your behavior at the office holiday party can cost you your job

Holiday parties -- particularly when they're held at offsite venues -- are a way for businesses to thank their employees for all of their hard work during the year. They also provide a chance for employees to socialize with their colleagues in a festive, relaxed atmosphere.

Unfortunately, especially when alcohol is available and free of charge, things can get a little too relaxed. It's essential to remember that even though you're "off the clock" and away from the office, you still need to behave professionally. People can get fired for things they do at the annual holiday party, the company picnic and other work-related social events.

What should and shouldn't be in your personnel files at work?

Personnel files used to be kept in file cabinets that filled rooms. Now, many of them are digitized. Either way, employers need to be careful about what information they keep in an employee's file.

Even though access to these files should be strictly limited, the information in them must be factual and unbiased. For example, documentation of an allegation made by a colleague, manager or anyone else that was not pursued or proven should never be in an employee's file.

Why are there more workplace discrimination cases than ever?

The federal law commonly know as Title VII makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees because of their race, gender, religion, color and national origin. Discrimination based on disability and pregnancy, are protected under federal law as well. While many employers are more scrupulous about complying with the law than ever, the number of employment discrimination lawsuits is increasing.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in 2016, over a third of discrimination cases involved race. Disability wasn't far behind, at just under 31 percent. Almost 30 percent involved sex. Close to 23 percent involved age.

How can you avoid breaching a nonsolicitation agreement?

In many industries, professionals accumulate customers over the years who are devoted to them more than the company they work for. When these professionals leave their employers for another company or to start a business, their customers often want to follow them. If that happened regularly, it could destroy a company.

That's why many companies require their employees to sign nonsolicitation agreements. These state that if they take a customer away from the business, they can be sued. Some nonsolicitation agreements apply to other employees as well. They state that if a person leaves the company, they can't entice other employees to come with them.

Managers can lose their jobs if they retaliate

Retaliation is a serious issue that plagues many workplaces in the Scottsdale area and the rest of the country. Retaliation often leads to wrongful termination cases when an employee loses their job for speaking up about unethical or illegal practices at their place of employment, also known as blowing the whistle. It's not out of the question for managers to lose their jobs if they retaliate against an employee.

The law protects an employee or applicant from retaliation if they make a claim against a company. This protection is in place whether the claim they make is true or false. The reason for this is that the government wants employees and applicants to know they can speak up when something is wrong without fear of retaliation.