Arizona Supreme Court keeps challenge to Proposition 206 alive

February 15, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Dinita L. James

The uncertainty surrounding Proposition 206’s mandate of a $10 minimum wage for 2017 will continue for a few more weeks, as the Arizona Supreme Court has decided to consider business groups’ challenge to the voter-approved law. After a Valentine’s Day conference, Chief Justice Scott Bales announced in a five-sentence order that the court will hear argument on one of the two issues raised by the challengers.

The court set a hearing for March 9, 2017, on whether the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act adopted by Arizona voters in November 2016 violates the Revenue Source Rule of the Arizona Constitution and, if it does, what the appropriate remedy would be. The rule requires that any citizen initiatives that require the expenditure of state funds specify from where those funds will come.

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Phoenix bans sexual orientation discrimination

February 27, 2013 0 COMMENTS

by Dinita L. James

On February 26, the Phoenix City Council voted to amend its human relations ordinance to include lesbian, gay, and transgender persons as well as disabled individuals among the groups protected from employment discrimination. The 5-3 vote came after a nearly five-hour public hearing before an estimated 500 people in the city’s historic Orpheum Theatre.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton had fast-tracked the amendment, which was something of a sleeper until opponents, including the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, mobilized in the week before the vote. Phoenix had voted down a similar proposal 21 years ago.

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Many Arizona state employees become “at will”

September 14, 2012 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

Most new state government workers in Arizona soon will be at-will employees thanks to a new law overhauling the state personnel system that goes into effect September 29.

The new law consolidates nine different personnel systems in the executive branch and converts new hires, attorneys, supervisors, and several other high-level employees to at-will status. Certain employees, such as peace officers and employees within the Arizona Department of Public Safety, will be exempt from the changes.

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Arizona Petitions U.S. Supreme Court to Review S.B. 1070

August 11, 2011 0 COMMENTS

By Dinita L. James

Following through on the strategy announced in April, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer filed a petition yesterday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the lower court decisions blocking implementation of key provisions of S.B. 1070, Arizona’s tough immigration law.

A federal district judge in Arizona blocked four provisions of the law, formally known as the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, from taking effect in July 2010. The injunction allowed certain aspects of the law to go into effect but blocked other provisions, including one making it a crime for an illegal immigrant to solicit, apply for, or perform any work in the state.

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Employers Whose Employees Work in California Are Subject to State Overtime Laws

July 06, 2011 0 COMMENTS

By Chris McFadden

CaliforniaEmployers that require workers to travel to and work within California may be subject to the state’s overtime laws even though their employees are nonresidents. The California Supreme Court decided last week that the California Labor Code applies to the overtime claims of three nonresident instructors who performed work within the state. The employees, who worked for Oracle, worked mainly in their home states (Arizona and Colorado) but were required to travel to California as part of their positions. The instructors alleged that Oracle’s failure to pay overtime for work performed in California was a violation of the state’s Labor Code as well as an unlawful business act under the state’s unfair competition law.

The court determined that California’s overtime law applies to all work performed in the state in excess of eight hours in one workday and 40 hours in one workweek regardless of the employee’s place of residence. The court noted that the state’s overtime laws were designed to serve important public-policy goals such as protecting the health and safety of employees from “the evils associated with overwork” and providing an incentive to spread employment to a greater number of individuals. These policies would not be served by excluding nonresidents from the state’s overtime laws. In addition, any extra burden on employers as a result of complying with California’s overtime laws would be incidental. The court held that the state’s overtime laws don’t apply to work performed outside California.

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Supreme Court: Arizona Immigration Law That Targets Businesses Is Valid

May 27, 2011 0 COMMENTS

U.S. Supreme Court BuildingThursday, May 26, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Legal Arizona Workers Act (Act), an Arizona employment law that allows the state to sanction employers that knowingly or intentionally employ “unauthorized aliens.” The first provision of the Act punishes certain employers that hire unauthorized aliens by suspending or revoking their business licenses. The second provision requires employers to check the immigration status of new employees through E-Verify, a federal online employment verification program.

The Chamber of Commerce of the United States, along with several business and civil rights organizations (collectively, Chamber), filed a federal lawsuit against the individuals tasked with administering the Act. The Chamber argued that federal immigration law preempted the two provisions of the Act. The district court determined that federal law didn’t preempt the Act because the law imposed licensing conditions only on businesses operating within the state and the U.S. Congress hadn’t expressed the intent to prevent states from requiring employers to use E-Verify. The Ninth U.S. Circuit  Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision.

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Georgia Governor Set to Sign Aggressive Immigration Law

May 03, 2011 1 COMMENTS

By Geetha Adinata, Ford & Harrison LLP

Another domino has fallen in the changing landscape of immigration law. Following in the footsteps of states such as Arizona, Georgia has passed legislation addressing the issue of illegal immigration within its borders. Last week, the Georgia Senate adopted and amended HB 87, which includes numerous provisions that will affect employers doing business in Georgia. Governor Nathan Deal plans to sign the bill when it reaches his desk.

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Six States Increase Indexed Minimum Wages for 2011

December 27, 2010 0 COMMENTS

As the new year approaches, a number of states will see index-driven increases to their minimum wage rates. Specifically, Arizona, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington will each add around 10 cents per hour to their existing wage rates, based on an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of a little more than one percent from August 2009 to August 2010. Two other states, Florida and Missouri, have chosen not to adjust their indexed wages.

In Arizona, the state minimum wage will increase from $7.25 to $7.35 per hour and will remain at that rate throughout the next year. Tipped employees’ hourly wages also will increase 10 cents, from $4.25 to $4.35. The new minimum wage must be posted in an area where employees can read the poster, such as the break room.

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Four Arizona Ballot Measures of Interest to Employers

November 01, 2010 0 COMMENTS

By Chris McFadden

As a reminder, tomorrow will be your opportunity to make a difference in Arizona by heading to the polls! Four measures on the ballot may be of particular interest to employers.

  • Proposition 113 (secret ballot): If passed, this measure would guarantee the right to vote by secret ballot in union representation elections.
  • Proposition 203 (medical marijuana): This measure aims to allow seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana. If passed, employers will need to review their drug-testing policies, consider Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation concerns, and analyze workplace safety implications.
  • Proposition 106 (health care): A yes vote would prohibit any rules that force state residents to participate in a health care program.
  • Proposition 107 (affirmative action): If passed, this measure would ban affirmative action programs in public employment and education.

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