Other Work Issues Article


Employment-at-Will and Right-to-Work

The terms “employment-at-will” and “right-to-work” are often used in the world of work.  Both of these terms describe specific, and separate, state laws regarding employment.  Arizona is an employment-at-will state and a right-to-work state.  This article explains the difference between these two laws.

Employment-at-Will

Under employment-at-will, either the employee or the employer can end the employment relationship at any time.  Employment-at-will applies to all employees and employers in Arizona.

With employment-at-will, an employee does not guarantee that he will stay on the job for any amount of time. An employee can quit at any time for any reason even if the employer needs the employee to be at work.
On the other hand, employees can end the work relationship by firing or laying off employees at any time. Employers do not guarantee any job will exist for any amount of time.  Employers do not need to have a business reason for firing an employee.  An employer can fire an employee at any time for any reasons even if the employee needs their job.

There are exceptions to “employment-at-will.”  If an employer and employee have a written employment contract, the length of employment and the reasons the employment can end are determined by the contract. Employers may also limit themselves by creating their own policies that can be found in the employer's handbook.

Other exceptions to “employment-at will” are in various laws.  Federal and Arizona state laws stop an employers from firing an employee for a specific reason.  For example, employers cannot fire an employee based upon their race, national origin, disability, age over 40, and other protected statuses. Other laws prevent an employer from firing an employee for taking time off under the Family Medical Leave, participating in jury duty, filing a workers compensation claim, or refusing to participate in any illegal behavior.

Because of all the federal and state laws that place restrictions on the employers’ right to fire employees, “employment-at-will” does not leave employees as vulnerable to job loss “for any reason” as was the case when courts first established “employment-at-will.”

Right-to-Work

The Right-to Work law applies to employees that work for an employer that has a union contract with a union. Under a Right-to-Work law, an employee cannot be forced to join a union.

In some states, but not Arizona, a company and union can have a union contract that requires employees to join the union and pay union dues.  The employee must join the union after being employed for a certain amount of time.

In Arizona, and other Right-to-Work Law states, an employer and union cannot require an employee to join the union.  The employee has a “right-to-work” without joining the union and having to pay union dues to the union.

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QUESTIONS

  • I will be changing from salary to hourly, my company is taking 40 hours of my PTO to pay me a weeks wage. Can they do that? I earned those PTO hours.
  • I'm having my boyfriends child and his mother is my boss and family can't work together. Does me having this child mean we can't work at the same place?
  • Question-once a work schedule of an employee has been posted can the employer make changes to the schedule w/o consulting the employee, and if employee can not accommodate the change can the employer retaliate with disciplinary action.
  • my boss does not pay any of his emplyees with a pay check everyone is paid in cash and he does not report all hours worked for all employees what should i do
  • Can my empolyer stop me from getting unemployment compinsation if I dont relocate and move out of state to work tor that company in another state? The company is closing down in this state. I can't relocate if rhey ask me to.
  • My ex boss and I had a disagreement about a verification issue through email. She was very rude and disrespectful. The following morning my husband who is her current employee called me to tell me that she cc'd him in his email the conversation. Is this a privacy breech? Although, he is my husband, he is a current employee and I am not. This is second time this has happened. The first time with a different employee. Do I have any legal rights here?
  • do you have to be licensed to be a 1099 independant contractor
  • I need to take medicine 3 times while at work, can they tell me i can't go to my car to take it
  • My daughter passed away recently and I requested her last paycheck. I asked the employer to add my name with proper identification to her check. He only made it out to her, therefore I am unable to cash the check or add it to my account. How can I cash her check?
  • I made a 98.00 mistake on the register can the owner make me pay for it.

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