Fired Article


Arizona Employment Protection Act

The Employment Relationship

In Arizona, employment is “at-will.”  A.R.S. § 23-1501. At-will employment means that the employer can fire the employee at any time or the employee can quit at any time.  There are some exceptions to this general rule.  For example, an employer cannot fire an employee if another law prevents firing an employee for a specific reason, such as firing someone because of their race or because the employee was called to jury duty.

The Arizona Employment Protection Act is an exception to “employment-at-will.”  This law prevents an employer from firing an employee for certain reason. A.R.S. § 23-1502

Illegal Firings

Under the Employment Protection Act, an employer cannot fire an employee for these reasons:

(a) If a written employment contract exists and the contract says the employer cannot fire the employee.  Most employees do not have a written employment contract.

(b) There is an Arizona state law that says an employer cannot fire an employee for that reason.  For example, Arizona has laws that prevent employers from firing employees because of their race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age over 40, disability, or genetic information. (For more information read the article Discrimination on the Job in this section.) Arizona employers also cannot fire an employee for filing a safety complaint. A.R.S. §23-245.

(c) In retaliation for the employee:

(i) Refusing to violate the Arizona Constitution or laws of Arizona,

(ii) Telling the employer the employee believes the employer or other employees have violated or will violate the Constitution of Arizona or laws of Arizona.

(iii) Using Arizona’s workers' compensation program.

(iv) Serving on a jury.

(v) Voting in elections. 

(vi) Not joining a union.

(vii) Serving in the national guard or armed forces.

(viii) Refusing to pay fees or gratuities as a condition of employment.

(ix) Refusing to purchase goods or supplies from any particular person as a condition of employment.

(x) Using leave if the employee is a victim of a juvenile offense a victim of a crime.

What to do if you believe you were Fired in Violation of the AZ Employment Protection Act

If you believe you were fired for a reason protected by the Arizona Employment Protection Act, review your employer’s procedure to determine who you should speak to and arrange a meeting with that person.  If your employer does not have a procedure about who to talk to in you believe you should not have been fired, talk to the people responsible for Human Resources in your company.

Give the employer as many specific facts as you have. Listen to the employer’s explanation.

If, after speaking with your employer, you still think you are were fired for a reason protected by the Arizona Employment Protection Act you should contact a private employment law attorney and discuss the facts with the attorney.

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  • I got fired at a private school for sending the parents an e-mail that was riddled with grammar errors. To be honest, I did write it in a hurry and I didn't proofread it. There is nothing offensive. I did nothing offensive during my time at the school. But that e-mail did spark fury with the parents who thought I'm not good enough to teach their children despite my credentials. I feel the principal didn't support me and fired me on the spot. My friends suggested that I should seek a lawyer to sue the school, but I have my doubts. Should I seek a lawyer for this?
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