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.

Comments:

QUESTIONS

  • I was harassed and bullied for 8 years. My doctor put me on antidepresents. I was fired the end of January for no reason. What can I do. there must be a law permitting people in charge from saying terrible things about you and your family to other employees and to the public. Please I need someone to help me or to point me in the right direction. She has also denied my workman's comp. so I can't have my carpal tunnel surgery.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • Can my employer use my AZ Sick Time PLUS deduct the same time from my personally accrued PTO? For example, I've been out sick and exhausted the 40 hours of AZ Sick Time. At the same time, my Employer is also using 40 hours of my personal PTO for a total of 16 hours per day sick time instead of the 8 hours I'm out of the office sick. Is this Legal???
  • i work in the cleaning industry my boss stopped paying us for the time we commute from one job to the other we drive his truck to do work for him we are paid hourly so for the 1 to 3 hours ea. day we are in route to a job we dont receive compensation for our time ? and he also has started putting, what should be a gas allowance on my check but has it described as a reimbrestment and he dont list correct the total of my deduct. in the total deduct column i cant tell if i am paying the taxes on the gas money please help i need to quit if he is not legally abided to pay drive time thank you
  • What are the rights of workers, through a temp agency, in Arizona?
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  • Is it legal for management to force servers to pay for misordered items and or walk outs...im new to management and have been receiving two sides of this story...the manager above me has had many complaints and im not trying to get caught up in any possible legal trouble...any help would be greatly appreciated ..i know arizona is a right to work state but ...i just dont no where the line get s drawn
  • How old do you have to be to work ?
  • I was hurt by a coworker on sep 29 2012 boss begged me not to file as he put it I was just bruised 3 people heard and saw that comment and that a false claim would rase his rates . the pain got so bad I used my own ins and within months had multiple surgerys 8 within the year of acc he never claimed me knowing I was having all these surgerys due to his coworkers fault I feel my mental and phys played a role in this as 4 months before we had a house fire no ins that left us homeless raising 3 kids that are not mine with no gov help also dealing with mental issues seein the docs for that to help

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  • State Bar of Arizona
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    Referral number 602-257-4434
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    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
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