Protecting The Best Interests Of Commercial Clients In The Construction Field And Other Industries

Can you really fire anybody, for any reason, in Arizona?

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2024 | Business Law |

Arizona’s Employment Protection Act of 1996 made this an “at-will” employment state, but it’s a mistake to believe that means an employee can be terminated for any reason, at any time. An employee can only be terminated for a lawful reason

What does that mean? It means that you are largely free to fire an employee for legitimate business reasons, whether that’s underperformance at their job or a personality conflict with their manager. However, you cannot fire anybody for a discriminatory reason.

What is considered discrimination?

In Arizona, it’s illegal to fire someone because of their race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability or pregnancy. It’s also illegal to fire them in retaliation for doing something they’re legally entitled to do – like filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Since lawsuits are expensive and damaging to a company’s reputation, you need to be proactive about minimizing the risk that a former employee will eventually bring a wrongful termination suit. Strategies include:

  • Ensure that your company has clear, comprehensive employment policies and procedures in place.
  • Communicate performance expectations, disciplinary procedures, grievance processes and termination protocols in the employee handbook.
  • Train your managers to be consistent when it comes to disciplinary actions and terminations to avoid exceptions that could lead to allegations of unfair treatment.
  • Offer regular feedback to your employees through performance reviews and document problems with employees as they arise so that when you do find it necessary to fire someone you can show what led you to that point.

Owning a business is complicated. Experienced legal guidance can help you avoid critical mistakes with your employment policies and procedures and mitigate the risk of future litigation.