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Total Articles: 38

10 Employer Considerations in Light of Arizona's New Paid Sick Time Law

On July 1, 2017, all Arizona employees became eligible to begin accruing “Paid Sick Time” benefits under the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act (“the Act”).1 For several months following the law’s enactment on November 8, 2016, the Industrial Commission of Arizona (“ICA”), the agency charged with enforcing the Act, provided little guidance on how employers must comply with the new paid sick time (“PST”) portions of the law.

ICA Issues 18 New Pages of Paid Sick Leave FAQs: The Top 10 Highlights for Employers

On June 30, 2017—the day before Arizona’s new paid sick leave law went into effect—the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) issued 18 pages of new frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Need Your Own Sick Leave Yet? ICA Issues Supplemental Draft Regulations on Arizona Paid Sick Leave

On June 27, 2017, the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) issued supplemental draft regulations. The supplemental regulations tweak some of the draft regulations the ICA issued on May 5, 2017. Some supplemental regulations are entirely new and help clarify several important yet unanswered questions lingering in employers’ minds.

Arizona’s Paid Sick Leave Law, Part II: The “Same Hourly Rate,” Attendance, and Coverage Questions

Arizona’s new paid sick leave law—Proposition 206 or The Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act—will go into effect on July 1, 2017. While we previously explained key components of the law, the Act left many important questions unanswered. Since the law passed, the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) has crafted a limited set of proposed regulations, which remain subject to review and approval by the state attorney general or the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council. In addition, the ICA has created a myriad of interpretive frequently asked questions (FAQs), which can be accessed on its website.

Arizona’s Paid Sick Leave Law, Part III: Record-Keeping, Shifting Employment Relationships, and Tips for Drafting Policies

Arizona’s new paid sick leave law—Proposition 206 or The Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act—will go into effect on July 1, 2017. Since the law passed, the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) has crafted proposed regulations and a number of frequently asked questions (FAQs). This three-part blog series examines the intricacies of the ICA’s current proposed regulations and FAQs. The first article in the series, “Arizona’s Paid Sick Leave Law, Part I: Accrual and Usage Issues,” covered issues involving paid sick time accrual and usage. Part two, “Arizona’s Paid Sick Leave Law, Part II: The “Same Hourly Rate,” Attendance, and Coverage Questions” examined the law’s “same hourly rate” requirement, attendance policies and rewards programs under the Act, and the Act’s coverage.

Arizona’s Paid Sick Leave Law, Part I: Accrual and Usage Issues

ince passage last November of Proposition 206, Arizona’s new paid sick leave law, officially titled The Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act, employers have been scrambling to prepare for its implementation on July 1, 2017. We previously explained key components of the law to help employers gain an understanding of its requirements and implications. As employers that have attempted to navigate the gaps and intricacies of the law have already experienced, the Act left many important questions unanswered and consigned the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) with the important task of crafting interpretive regulations and/or guidance.

Arizona Industrial Commission Issues Proposed Rules for Paid Sick Time

The Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on May 5, 2017, containing the ICA’s much-anticipated draft regulations on Arizona's new paid sick time law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2017. A copy of the draft regulations can be found on the Arizona Secretary of State's website.

Arizona Amends State Disabilities Act to Protect Businesses From Drive-by Lawsuits

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey just signed into law an amendment to the Arizonans with Disabilities Act (AzDA) designed to make it more difficult to bring lawsuits against businesses based on claims that they are not accessible to individuals with disabilities. The amendment requires potential plaintiffs to give business owners notice of alleged access violations and allows businesses 30-90 days to correct the issues before a lawsuit can be filed. It also excludes websites from the AzDA’s requirements and authorizes courts to impose sanctions on plaintiffs and their attorneys if the court finds that a lawsuit was brought for the primary purpose of obtaining a payment from the defendant business.

The Prop 206 Saga Continues: Arizona Supreme Court Unanimously Rejects Constitutional Challenge

Last December, I wrote about a lawsuit before the Arizona Supreme Court challenging Proposition 206, the minimum wage and paid sick time referendum that instantly raised the Arizona minimum wage to $10 per hour and created a mandatory paid sick time requirement for employers.

Prop 206 Remains Unsettled: Constitutional Challenge and Interim FAQs Keep Us Guessing

Proposition 206, the minimum wage and paid sick time referendum that decisively passed in last month’s election with over 58 percent of votes cast, may never become effective if a newly filed lawsuit proves successful. In the meantime, the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) issued their initial FAQs in a newly-released document, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Minimum Wage and Earned Paid Sick Time designed to provide guidance for employers and employees on both the new minimum wage and the paid sick time (PST) provisions. While helpful in summarizing and organizing the law’s multiple components, the FAQs break no new ground. Also, they admit that the model notices the ICA is supposed to prepare (i.e., the ones employers must post in order to stay in compliance with the new law) are still “currently being developed.”

Arizona and Washington Join The PSL Patchwork

On Election Day, voters in Arizona and Washington approved measures requiring employers in their respective states to provide paid sick leave and requiring employers to raise the minimum wage. They join the PSL states of California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont and an ever growing patchwork of cities and counties.

Arizona’s Proposition 206: Much More Than a Minimum Wage Increase

On November 8, 2016, Arizona voters will decide on the “Minimum Wage and Paid Time Off Initiative,” known as Proposition 206. The purpose of Prop. 206 is twofold: (1) to increase Arizona’s minimum wage from $8.05 per hour in 2016 to $12.00 per hour by the year 2020 (with a nearly $2.00 per hour boost starting on January 1, 2017), and (2) to require that employers provide paid sick time to employees.

A Reprieve for Arizona Businesses: State Judge Stays More Than 1,100 Cases by Serial ADA Plaintiff

On September 23, 2016, an Arizona judge granted at least a temporary reprieve to more than 1,100 Arizona businesses that have been beleaguered by lawsuits alleging that their parking lots lack sufficient accessible parking spaces for the disabled, or that spaces are not marked with adequate signage. The Honorable David M. Talamante entered an order consolidating and temporarily staying all of the cases that remain pending out of more than 1,500 cases filed in Arizona this year by a single plaintiff’s counsel, Peter Strojnik, and his affiliated clients alleging violations of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Arizonans with Disabilities Act (AzDA). All deadlines and other activity in the pending cases are stayed until the court orders otherwise, and the plaintiffs are barred from filing any new complaints raising substantially similar legal issues without leave of the court.

New Arizona Laws Seek to Clarify Independent Contractor Status

Arizona’s new Declaration of Independent Business Status (DIBS) law went into effect on August 6, 2016. Arizona employers can now clarify their relationships with independent contractors under certain circumstances. For purposes of state law, employers may confirm the independent contractor relationship by having workers sign declarations that create a rebuttable presumption that an independent contractor relationship exists. However, while a DIBS declaration can provide clarity under state law—particularly in situations of misclassification claims when former workers apply for unemployment benefits—it likely does not affect the federal independent-contractor tests used by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service, or the National Labor Relations Board.

New Laws Define Independent Contractor Status in Arizona

Effective on August 6, 2016, Arizona law on employment relationships will allow employers contracting with an independent contractor to prove the existence of such a relationship by having the independent contractor sign a declaration. Under the new law, the execution of a declaration creates a rebuttable presumption that an independent contractor relationship exists.

Tempe City Council Broadens Anti-Discrimination Ordinance to Encompass Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Individuals

On February 27, 2014, by unanimous vote, the Tempe City Council approved a proposal to expand the Tempe City Code’s anti-discrimination ordinance to prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodation on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Businesses and employers that violate the ordinance face a civil sanction and fine of up to $2,500.

Arizona Court of Appeals Decision Highlights Employer’s Burden of Proving Disqualification from Unemployment Benefits

The Arizona Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion overturning the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board’s denial of unemployment benefits to an employee who was terminated for excessive tardiness. Importantly, the court ruled in favor of the employee because it found that the employer failed to prove that the employee’s tardiness constituted “willful or negligent misconduct,” as required under Arizona law. Even though the employer claimed the employee had violated its policies, the employer did not establish that the violation rose to a level of misconduct required to deny unemployment benefits. Norwood v. Arizona Department of Economic Security, No. 1 CA-UB 12-0129, Arizona Court of Appeals (May 23, 2013).

New Legislation Requires Individuals to Support Claims for Unemployment Benefits with Information and Documents

On March 28, 2013, Governor Jan Brewer signed into law House Bill 2147, which shifts the initial obligation to provide information regarding a claim for unemployment benefits from the employer to the individual applying for the benefits. HB 2147 requires that, at the time of filing for unemployment benefits, an individual must provide information and documents supporting the basis of his or her claim to the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), the department responsible for administering unemployment benefits. The documentation and information must be sufficient for DES to determine the individual’s eligibility, and DES has the authority to find the individual’s claim invalid if the individual has the ability to produce such documents and fails to do so.

Phoenix City Council Votes in Favor of Expansion of Anti-Discrimination Ordinance to Include Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Residents

On February 26, 2013, by a vote of 5 to 3, the Phoenix City Council approved a proposal to expand the Phoenix City Code’s anti-discrimination ordinance to more broadly prohibit discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered residents. The amendments to Chapter 18 of the Code add the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” to the Code sections currently prohibiting discrimination in employment, public accommodations, housing, and certain contracts with the City. The prohibition against employment discrimination applies to all employers conducting business within the City of Phoenix with one or more employees for each working day in each of 20 calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year. The Code exempts certain organizations including religious organizations, small private landlords, senior housing, and private clubs. Failure to comply with the Code sections may result in a Class 1 misdemeanor and a $2,500 fine.

Arizona Supreme Court Limits Employer’s Vicarious Liability for Employee’s Off-Duty, On-Location Assignment Car Accident

On July 9, 2012, the Arizona Supreme Court issued an employer-friendly opinion holding that an employer was not vicariously liable for negligent conduct committed by an employee during an out-of-town assignment, after work hours. Engler v. Gulf Interstate Engineering, Inc.

Broad Access to Retail Pot Likely in Urban Areas

The two-week application period for medical marijuana dispensaries closed at the end of last month, and the results bode well for most Qualified Patients? (QPs) ability readily to access to consumer cannabis products within the year.

Arizona Court Expands Scope of Attorney-Client Privilege for Employers

In a very recent decision, the Arizona Court of Appeals interpreted the attorney-client privilege broadly in favor of corporations and other entities using corporate counsel. The court in The Salvation Army v. Bryson (not yet published) held that A.R.S. § 12-2234, which codifies the attorney-client privilege in Arizona, covers any communication between a corporate lawyer and corporate employees when the communication is made “for the purpose of obtaining information in order to provide legal advice” to the entity, employer or employee. This decision confirmed that the Arizona legislature intentionally expanded the privilege beyond the Arizona Supreme Court’s prior holding in Samaritan Foundation v. Goodfarb, 176 Ariz. 497, 501 (1993) ("Samaritan II"). Samaritan II held that the scope of the attorney-client privilege was limited to communications between corporate counsel and corporate employees regarding the employee’s “own conduct in the scope of their employment.” This limitation excluded communications between corporate counsel and employees who were not personally involved in, but may have been witnesses to, events about which corporate counsel was advising the employer.

Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Legal Workers Act

On May 26, 2011, the United States Supreme Court issued a 5-3 decision in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting upholding the Arizona Legal Workers Act (“the Act”). The Act provides that the business licenses of employers who knowingly or intentionally employ unauthorized aliens may be, and in certain circumstances must be, suspended or revoked. The law also requires that all Arizona employers use E-Verify. The Court held that neither of these provisions was preempted by federal immigration law.

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Arizona's E-Verify Law and Penalty Provisions for Employing Unauthorized Workers

On May 26, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Arizona's 2007 immigration law that requires all employers to use E-Verify for all new hires and permits the revocation of a company's business license as a penalty for employing unauthorized workers. This decision resulted from a challenge to the Legal Arizona Workers Act of 2007, not to be confused with the 2010 controversial Arizona "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act."

Supreme Court Rules Arizona's Immigration Law Is Not In Conflict With Federal Law

On May 26, 2011, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the 5-3 majority, in part joined by Justices Scalia, Kennedy and Alito, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that federal immigration law does not preempt or invalidate an Arizona law, which subjected state employers to sanctions for knowingly or intentionally employing unauthorized aliens and which required that all Arizona employers use E-Verify. According to the high court, in enacting its law, "Arizona has taken the route least likely to cause tension with federal law." "If even this gives rise to impermissible conflicts with federal law," the Court noted, "then there really is no way for the State to implement licensing sanctions, contrary to the express terms of the savings clause." Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America v. Whiting, No. 09-115, U.S. Supreme Court (May 26, 2011).

Arizona Immigration Law Valid According to Divided Supreme Court

To the political bonfire of illegal immigration, the U.S. Supreme Court has just dumped several gallons of petrol, with its decision upholding the Legal Arizona Workers Act, which places penalties for hiring illegal workers on most Arizona employers and requires that employers use E-verify.

New Legislation Defines “Impairment” And Addresses Other Employer Concerns Created By The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act

House Bill 2541, which was recently passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer on April 29, 2011, amends Arizona’s drug testing statute by defining terms and adding much-needed protections for employers in light of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. The Act, passed by Arizona voters last November, includes a specific employment-based anti-discrimination section that protects medical marijuana “cardholders.” Employers are prohibited from taking adverse actions, such as termination, based on an employee’s or applicant’s status as a cardholder, or a qualifying patient’s positive drug test, unless the qualifying patient (i.e., a cardholder authorized to use medical marijuana) used, possessed or was “impaired” by marijuana while at work or during work hours. The Act’s failure to define “impaired” left employers questioning how to determine whether an employee is impaired without running afoul of the anti-discrimination language, and when employers could lawfully take any action against a cardholder.

Arizona's New Legislative Prescription For Employer Medical Marijuana Ailments

Employers in Arizona exhaled a sigh of relief as Governor Jan Brewer signed a new law Friday, April 29, 2011. Among other things, the new law protects employers who take action against employees suspected of working while impaired by marijuana or other prohibited substances.

Up In Smoke: Arizona's Medical Marijuana Law Creates New Workplace Protected Class

In the final vote tally completed nearly two weeks after the close of the election polls, Arizona's medical marijuana law passed by a margin of just over 4,000 votes. Like prior attempts to legalize medical marijuana in Arizona, Proposition 203 legalizes marijuana use by authorized patients for limited medical purposes under state law. But unlike the prior versions which passed in 1996 and 1998 and which were effectively nullified, Proposition 203 seems more likely to survive technical wording challenges. Arizona joins 14 other states that have adopted similar medical marijuana laws.

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act – Implications for Employers.

After a close vote, Arizona voters recently passed Proposition 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, making Arizona the 15th state to pass legislation legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Court Upholds Tough Arizona Immigration Law.

The Ninth Circuit recently upheld a tough Arizona immigration law, known as the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA), which targets employers who hire unauthorized workers. This is the first federal appeals court to rule on a challenge to a state immigration law.

Ninth Circuit Upholds Arizona's Employer Sanctions Law.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday issued a ruling upholding the Legal Arizona Workers Act (“LAWA”). LAWA provides for the suspension and revocation of the business licenses of Arizona employers who knowingly employ illegal immigrants. LAWA also requires employers to verify the work status of newly-hired workers through the federal E-Verify employment verification program. Last year, various business and civic associations and non-profit corporations filed two lawsuits challenging LAWA on the ground that the Act infringes on federal immigration powers. They also claimed that LAWA lacks adequate due process protection for Arizona employers.

Arizona’s E-Verify Law Upheld.

On September 17, a federal appellate court upheld Arizona’s law requiring all employers to participate in E-Verify. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA) was not preempted by federal immigration law and that the Act does not, on its face, deprive employers of due process since there is an opportunity for employers to be heard before sanctions are imposed.

Governor Signs Bill Amending Legal Arizona Workers Act.

On Thursday, May 1st, Governor Janet Napolitano signed into law HB 2745, a bill that significantly modifies portions of the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA), the Arizona law that prohibits employers from hiring workers not legally authorized to work in the United States. Although LAWA has been in effect for less than five months, throughout its brief history, numerous business, Hispanic, and civil rights organizations have vigorously fought to strike it down. So far, those efforts have been unsuccessful.

Arizona's Employer Sanctions Law Upheld.

U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake dismissed a lawsuit brought by various business and civic groups challenging the Arizona Legal Workers Act (the "Act"). The Act, which went into effect on January 1, 2008, gives Arizona Superior Courts the power to suspend or revoke business licenses of employers who knowingly or intentionally employ unauthorized workers. In his 37-page decision dismissing the lawsuit, Judge Wake said that the Act does not violate employers’ due process rights or improperly infringe on the federal government’s authority to regulate illegal immigration. Judge Wake said that federal immigration law specifically allows states to regulate business licensing.

Enforcement of Arizona Legal Workers Act Postponed.

Enforcement actions under the new Arizona Legal Workers Act have been put on hold until March 1, 2008. During a hearing in front of U.S. District Court Judge Neil V. Wake on Wednesday, January 16, 2008, Arizona’s 15 county attorneys agreed to wait until the end of February before prosecuting any complaints filed under the new law. There are no guarantees, however, that law enforcement agencies will refrain from investigating complaints that employers have hired unauthorized workers.

Arizona Legal Workers Act Survives First Challenge.

Just hours ago, Judge Neil Wake of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona denied a temporary restraining order seeking to block enforcement of the Arizona Legal Workers Act. For now, it appears that Arizona’s sweeping new law aimed at stopping the employment of unauthorized workers in Arizona will take effect as scheduled on January 1, 2008. The Act, which allows for suspension and revocation of licenses of businesses that knowingly employ unauthorized workers, has been discussed in detail in prior Ogletree Deakins client alerts.

Arizona Alert - Judge Rejects Challenge To Legal Arizona Workers Act.

On Friday, December 7, 2007, U.S. District Court Judge Neil V. Wake dismissed the consolidated lawsuit brought by various business and civic associations and non-profit corporations challenging the "Legal Arizona Workers Act," Arizona’s new employer sanctions/immigration law. In his ruling, Judge Wake said that the plaintiffs who challenged the new law had sued the wrong parties. Rather than sue the 15 County Attorneys -- who are charged with enforcing the new law -- the plaintiffs brought their lawsuit against the Director of the Arizona Department of Revenue, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. In his 25-page decision, Judge Wake wrote: "This action must be dismissed without prejudice...there being no justiciable case or controversy against the defendants."
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