Labor and Employment Law Overview: Arizona

Labor and Employment Law Overview requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: XpertHR Editorial Team

Summary

  • Arizona employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on a number of characteristics. See EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations.
  • Arizona restricts drug and alcohol testing and requires employers to use E-Verify. See Recruiting and Hiring.
  • Arizona's minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage. State law also covers child labor. See Wage and Hour.
  • State law specifies how frequently employees must be paid, when employers may make deductions from employees' wages and when final paychecks must be distributed to terminated employees. See Pay and Benefits.
  • Under Arizona law, employees are entitled to certain leaves, including crime victim leave and voting leave. See Attendance and Leave.
  • Arizona operates its job safety and health programs under a state plan approved by the federal government. The state also has laws on workplace smoking and guns in parking lots. See Health and Safety.

Introduction to Employment Law in Arizona

Arizona is a middle-of-the-road state, meaning it generally does not lean toward being either employee- or employer-friendly.

Select Arizona employment requirements are summarized below to help an employer understand the range of employment laws affecting the employer-employee relationship in the state. An employer must comply with both federal and state law.

An employer must also comply with applicable municipal law obligations affecting the employment relationship, in addition to complying with state and federal requirements.

EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations

Key Arizona requirements impacting EEO, diversity and employee relations are:

The Arizona Civil Rights Act

The Arizona Civil Rights Act (ACRA) covers Arizona employers with 15 or more employees. The ACRA provides protections similar to those provided under federal law and prohibits a covered employer from discriminating in employment on the basis of certain protected characteristics, including:

  • Race;
  • Color;
  • Religion;
  • Sex (including pregnancy and maternity);
  • Age (40 and over);
  • National origin;
  • Disability; and
  • Genetic test results.

With respect to sexual harassment claims, the ACRA covers employers with at least one employee.

The ACRA also prohibits an employer from taking an adverse employment action against employees who enforce their rights under the law, or support a third party enforcing his or her rights.

Wage Discrimination

The equal pay law requires that an employer pay men and women an equal rate of pay for doing equal or comparable work. State law does not, however, prevent an employer from basing pay differences on seniority, skill, merit or other nondiscriminatory factors.

Medical Marijuana

Under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, an employer may not discriminate against registered qualifying persons holding medical marijuana cards in hiring, termination or other terms and conditions of employment. An employer is also prohibited from discriminating against a registered qualifying patient who tests positive for marijuana, unless the patient used, possessed or was impaired by marijuana on the employer's premises or during work hours.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on EEO, diversity and employee relations practices in Arizona can be found in the Arizona Employee Handbook Table of Contents, EEO - Discrimination: Arizona, EEO - Harassment: Arizona, EEO - Retaliation: Arizona, Disabilities (ADA): Arizona, Arizona Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Arizona? Federal requirements can be found in Disabilities (ADA): Federal, EEO - Discrimination: Federal, EEO - Harassment: Federal and EEO - Retaliation: Federal.

Recruiting and Hiring

Key Arizona requirements impacting recruiting and hiring are:

Drug Testing

An Arizona employer may test employees and applicants for illegal drug use and may test employees for alcohol impairment. While an employer must pay for drug and alcohol tests administered on current employees, it is not required to pay for preemployment drug tests.

An employer that conducts drug and alcohol tests should do so in accordance with a written policy. The policy must include certain information, including:

  • A statement of the employer's policy regarding drug and alcohol use;
  • Who will be tested;
  • Circumstances under which testing will be required;
  • The substances tested for;
  • An explanation of the testing methods and collection procedures;
  • The consequences of a refusal to submit to testing;
  • The consequences of positive test results;
  • The employee's right to request and obtain the written test results;
  • The employee's right to request, and obtain, an opportunity to explain a positive test result, in a confidential setting; and
  • The employer's policy regarding the confidentiality of the test results.

An employer is also prohibited from disciplining an employee who is a registered medical marijuana user for testing positive for marijuana if the amount of marijuana present is insufficient to cause impairment.

The Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA) prohibits an employer from employing undocumented workers. This prohibition also applies to employers using an independent contractor or subcontractor to obtain labor.

The key features of the LAWA require an employer to:

  • Register to use E-Verify;
  • Use E-Verify to verify the status of employees hired after December 31, 2007; and
  • Keep records of the verification for the duration of the individual's employment or three years, whichever is longer.

The LAWA's sanctions are harsher than those imposed by federal law.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on recruiting and hiring practices in Arizona can be found in the Arizona Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Preemployment Screening and Testing: Arizona, Immigration, Form I-9 and Work Visas: Arizona and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Arizona? Federal requirements can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: Federal and Immigration, Form I-9 and Work Visas: Federal.

Wage and Hour

Key Arizona requirements impacting wages and hours are:

Minimum Wage

Under the Arizona Minimum Wage Act, every covered employer is required to pay each employee wages of at least $8.05 per hour. There are exemptions, and a separate minimum wage rate exists for certain employees (e.g., tipped employees). When an employer is covered by both the federal and state minimum wage laws, it must pay the higher minimum wage rate.

Child Labor

Child labor laws in Arizona restrict the occupations in which minors may be employed and the number of hours and times during which they may work.

Arizona law prohibits an employer from employing minors in occupations found to be hazardous or detrimental to the well-being of minors unless a variance is granted. Some identified occupations are prohibited for all minors, but others are prohibited only for minors under the age of 16.

With some exceptions, minors under the age of 16 may not work:

  • More than 40 hours in one week when: 1) the employee is not enrolled in school; or 2) school is not in session;
  • More than 18 hours in one week when the employee is enrolled in school and school is in session;
  • More than eight hours in one day when: 1) the employee is not enrolled in school; or 2) on a day when school is not in session, i.e., weekend or break;
  • More than three hours in a school day when the employee is enrolled in school;
  • Between 9:30 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. when school is in session;
  • Between 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. when school is not in session.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on wage and hour practices in Arizona can be found in Minimum Wage: Arizona, Child Labor: Arizona, Arizona Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Arizona? Federal requirements can be found in Minimum Wage: Federal and Child Labor: Federal.

Pay and Benefits

Key Arizona requirements impacting pay and benefits are:

Pay Frequency

Each employer in Arizona must designate at least two fixed paydays per month, which should not be more than 16 days apart. If an employer's principal location and its payroll system are not in Arizona, the employer may pay the following employees on a monthly basis:

  • Executives (as defined under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA));
  • Professionals (as defined under the FLSA);
  • Administrative employees (as defined under the FLSA);
  • Outside salespersons (as defined under the FLSA); and
  • Supervisory employees (as defined under the National Labor Relations Act).

Wage Deductions

An employer may only withhold an employee's wages under the following circumstances:

  • In accordance with state or federal law;
  • With the employee's prior written authorization; or
  • Where the wage amount is under dispute.

Pay Statements

An employer must provide paper or electronic pay statements to employees who are paid by direct deposit or paycard.

Termination Pay

Employees who quit their job must be paid by the next regular payday. Employees who are fired must be paid within seven business days or by the next regular payday, whichever is earlier.

Upon termination, employees are entitled to unpaid commissions; nondiscretionary bonus payments; and the value of any earned, unused vacation days, sick days or paid time off that are payable under the employer's written policies.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on pay and benefits practices in Arizona can be found in Payment of Wages: Arizona and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Arizona? Federal requirements can be found in Payment of Wages: Federal.

Attendance and Leave

Arizona has fewer laws relating to required leaves for employees than many other states, but does have mandated leave laws such as:

  • Crime victim leave (covering employers with 50 or more employees);
  • Voting leave;
  • Jury duty leave; and
  • Military leave.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on attendance and leave practices in Arizona can be found in the Arizona Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Other Leaves: Arizona, Jury Duty: Arizona, USERRA: Arizona and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Arizona? Federal requirements can be found in Other Leaves: Federal, Jury Duty: Federal and USERRA: Federal.

Health and Safety

Key Arizona requirements impacting health and safety are:

Arizona Occupational Safety and Health Act

Arizona operates its job safety and health programs covering the private sector under a state plan approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The Arizona Occupational Safety and Health Act generally follows the federal OSHA standards with state-specific provisions, but Arizona has additional compliance requirements.

Smoke-Free Arizona Act

The Smoke-Free Arizona Act requires almost all Arizona employers to prohibit smoking in all public places and places of employment. An Arizona employer must post no-smoking signs at all entrances to buildings.

Weapons in the Workplace

An Arizona employer may not prohibit employees or other individuals from lawfully transporting and/or storing firearms in the person's locked, personal vehicle or a locked compartment in the person's private motorcycle. The firearm may not be visible from the outside of the vehicle or motorcycle.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on health and safety requirements in Arizona can be found in the Arizona Employee Handbook Table of Contents, HR and Workplace Safety: Arizona, Employee Health: Arizona, Workplace Security: Arizona, Arizona Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Arizona? Federal requirements can be found in HR and Workplace Safety (OSHA Compliance): Federal, Employee Health: Federal and Workplace Security: Federal.