Arizona News & Analysis

  • Questionable reaction to expressing breast milk can't pump up claim

    Several statutes offer accommodation for or protection to nursing mothers in the workplace. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to provide nonexempt employees with reasonable (paid or unpaid) break time and a suitable place to express milk for up to one year after the employee gives birth. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Arizona Civil Rights Act (ACRA) also protect nursing mothers from discrimination based on their need to express milk at the workplace. Title VII, the ACRA, and the Arizona Employment Protection Act (AEPA) prohibit retaliation against nursing mothers for taking breaks to express milk or for filing a discrimination charge based on failed accommodations. Considering the many statutory protections for nursing mothers, employers must know the accommodation requirements and be aware of the several ways in which their actions can subject them to liability.

  • Otolaryngology practice swallows polygraph penalty

    Remember the federal poster you are displaying with all the others you're required to post in locations where employees and job applicants can readily see it? The one with "EMPLOYEE RIGHTS" at the top in big, bold letters and the words "EMPLOYEE POLYGRAPH PROTECTION ACT" (EPPA) below it in only slightly smaller bold letters? Apparently, the office manager of West Valley Ear, Nose, and Throat, PC, did not.

  • To change or not to change?

    Change is hard. Eighty-four percent of executives say their organization's future success is highly dependent on innovation, but 80 percent believe their business will be disrupted by innovation. We know most new product innovations fail, startups have an abysmal success record, and more than 70 percent of strategic initiatives fail or fall short. Change is difficult, and we are not very good at it.

  • Supreme Court ruling raises stakes in Title VII claims

    If an employee files a timely Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge, can she later raise new discrimination allegations after the filing deadline has passed? That's the issue addressed in a new decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. Spoiler alert: The answer is no, unless the employer—or more accurately, its attorney—doesn't notice.

  • Individual coverage HRAs probably not option for 2020

    On his very first day in office, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order instructing federal agencies to lessen the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) burden on the organizations and individuals who were subject to its requirements. More than two years later, the ACA is limping along, but the Trump administration is still working to carry out that order.

  • Message from the editor

    Since 2012, the good folks at F&H Solutions Group have been contributing their wisdom to readers of Arizona Employment Law Letter in the monthly column Words on Wise Management. At the end of July 2019, F&H Solutions Group sharpened its focus on labor management consulting. Brad Federman—who had been chief operating officer at F&H Solutions Group since March 2013, when his company, PerformancePoint, LLC, merged with F&H Solutions Group—will resume leading PerformancePoint in providing talent management and human resources solutions. Many of your favorite Words on Wise Management authors are now under the PerformancePoint umbrella and will continue providing their insight and advice through the monthly column. Brad writes about change on page 5 of this issue. It's a subject about which he has recent personal experience. I know you will enjoy reading his three rules for coaching others as they lead change.

  • Employers can be liable for harassment even with policies in place

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from a hostile work environment. People use buzzwords such as "severe and pervasive" to describe hostile environment harassment, but what does that mean? It could mean verbal or physical harassment in the form of discrimination, intimidation, ridicule, or insults based on a protected status such as race or sex that changes the conditions of employment or creates an abusive working environment.

  • Women's World Cup gives header to equal pay claims

    Two days after the U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT) won soccer's World Cup and brought worldwide attention to the issue of equal pay, Talonya Adams took her pay discrimination and retaliation claims against the Arizona Senate to trial before a federal jury in Phoenix. It was fortuitous timing for Adams—before the week was out, the jury had awarded her $1 million to compensate for the emotional distress she had suffered.

  • DOL updates opinion on independent contractors for the gig economy

    Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has taken a decidedly industry-friendly approach to the independent contractor analysis. If there was any doubt before, that was made clear by its recent issuance of a whopping 10-page opinion letter examining the nature of the relationship between a virtual marketplace company (think Uber) and the "gig" workers they employ (e.g., Uber drivers).

  • Ensuring proper handling of wage garnishments

    Our June Work on It column addressed the initial steps to take when youre served with a writ of garnishment and summons directing you to garnish an employees wages. This month, we outline the steps to take after you file the garnishees answer and your answer is served on both the judgment creditor and the judgment debtor. We havent addressed nuanced situations; rather, weve focused on the basic steps employers must follow during the garnishment process.