(602) 248-0380

Former insurance company
attorneys, now proudly fighting
for injury victims in Arizona.

Request Consultation
Request Consultation

Request Consultation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

* Required Field

Arizona Wrongful Termination Laws 

Posted in Workers' Compensation Laws on December 8, 2023

In most situations, employers can terminate individuals for nearly any reason. However, even though Arizona is an at-will employment state, unlawful terminations can still occur in specific circumstances. Here, we want to discuss what wrongful termination looks like in Arizona and the steps you can take if you believe you have been wrongfully terminated from your job.

What is an At-Will State?

Arizona, like other right-to-work states, adheres to the “at-will” employment doctrine. This means that the employer-employee relationship can be ended by either party at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all, with or without notice. 

However, there are exceptions, such as when an employee has a written contract specifying employment duration or conditions that limit the employer’s ability to affect termination or if the termination violates specific state or federal laws.

What Constitutes Wrongful Termination?

Wrongful termination in Arizona includes firing an employee for discriminatory reasons, such as race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, or disability. Additionally, this includes termination due to whistleblowing, filing workers’ compensation claims, attending mandatory jury service, voting, union-related activities, military service, and refusing to pay or purchase as a condition of employment. 

Wrongful termination can also include cases of a person losing their job because the employer violated other federal laws, including:

  • Arizona Civil Rights Act,
  • Federal Civil Rights Act, 
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • Family Medical Leave Act
  • National Labor Relations Act
  • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act 

Proving Wrongful Termination in Arizona

Proving wrongful termination often hinges on gathering adequate evidence. Two types of evidence can be used:

  1. Direct – like incriminating emails or a record of positive performance reviews
  2. Circumstantial – such as inconsistencies in company policy enforcement or disciplinary actions

Circumstantial evidence, though more common, requires an inference to connect it to the conclusion of fact. It is important to demonstrate, for instance, that similar violations by other employees were not met with the same disciplinary measures. All of this can be challenging.

If you suspect wrongful termination, it is crucial to start gathering evidence as early as possible. This includes maintaining a paper trail of work-related events, obtaining your personnel file, copying paycheck stubs, and securing company policies and employment contracts. After you lose your job, documenting the event accurately and seeking written clarification for the termination from the employer can strengthen your case. Additionally, speaking with coworkers to identify any discriminatory practices or inconsistencies in disciplinary actions can be pivotal.

Even though Arizona’s at-will employment doctrine grants employers freedom in termination decisions, employees are protected against dismissals that violate specific state and federal laws. Proving wrongful termination requires meticulous evidence gathering and an understanding of the nuances of employment laws, often requiring legal experience to navigate successfully.

Working With an Attorney

If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated due to a workplace injury or filing a workers’ compensation claim in Arizona, we encourage you to contact a lawyer immediately. A skilled Phoenix workers’ compensation attorney can help you through every aspect of this process, including conducting a thorough investigation into the incident and handling all communication with other parties involved. You have rights in these situations, and we want to help ensure you are treated fairly.