Community Legal Services defends the rights of working Arizonans and assists low-wage workers with a range of work place issues including payment of wages, access to unemployment benefits, proper benefits, employee status and discrimination.
Through community education, advocacy, self-help assistance, community collaboration and direct representation, our attorneys empower low-wage workers to fight for their rights in the workplace. Legal assistance and/or representation is provided to workers from various industries in all of our service areas in the state of Arizona.
Special services for farmworkers throughout the state of Arizona are also available. Visit Community Legal Services’ statewide Farmworker Program for more information.
CLS assists individuals in removing barriers to housing and employment through Set Aside services.
Community Legal Services promotes the rights of working people to a safe, living-wage job free from discrimination and harassment, and assist low-wage workers with a range of work place issues including payment of wages, access to unemployment benefits, proper benefits, employee status and discrimination.
Types of cases in which the Employment Unit may assist:
If you have a contract, your employer has to pay you the amount in the contract. Generally, you must make minimum wage. January 1, 2019 the minimum wage is $11.00 per hour and on January 1, 2020 the minimum wage will increase to $12.00 per hour. Arizona does not have an overtime law. However, if you are not paid the Arizona minimum wage you may have a right to bring a lawsuit under the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act. If your employer is covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, you may be entitled to overtime. For exceptions to the federal minimum wage law and to determine if your employer is covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, see the requirements under the Department of Labor website: https://www.wagehour.dol.gov. For information about the Arizona Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act, see the requirements at the Industrial Commission of Arizona opens in a new windowhttps://www.azica.gov/labor-frequently-asked-questions-english
Employers can only withhold an employee’s wages when the employer is required by state or federal law, the employer has the employee’s prior written authorization, or there is a reasonable good faith dispute as to the amount of wages due, including the amount of any counterclaim, reimbursement, recoupment or set-off asserted by the employer.
Employers in Arizona must designate two or more days in each month, not more than sixteen days apart, as fixed paydays for payment of wages to their employees.
Employers can pay its employees once per month only if its principal place of business is located outside Arizona and if its payroll system is centralized outside the State of Arizona and the employees in question are professional, administrative, executive employees or outside salespersons as defined under the Fair Labor Standards Act or the employees are employed in a supervisory capacity as defined under the National Labor Relations Act.
Employees who quit must be paid on regular payday for the pay period during which the resignation occurred.
Community Legal Services generally advises workers to first attempt to resolve the issue without litigation. You should communicate with your employer or former employer about the money you believe you are owed. If that doesn’t work, you have several options depending on the type of claim:
No, in Arizona, unless you are working under a contract that states that you may only be terminated for good cause, your employer does not need good cause to fire you. However, the employer still may not fire you for a reason that violates state or federal law such as the discrimination laws.
If you are terminated from your job, you first must decide if your employer violated any federal or state laws in the action. For instance, if it was based on discrimination (discussed below), you have a deadline to file a claim. Also, while you are looking for a new job, you should consider whether you qualify unemployment insurance.
If you believe you are entitled to unemployment insurance, you should file an appeal. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you file the appeal within the deadline.
Different levels of appeals have different deadlines: Your notice should state the time you have to appeal: 15 calendar days after the mailing date for a Determination of Deputy, Determination of Overpayment; 30 calendar days after the mailing date or electronic transmission date of the Decision of Appeal Tribunal; 30 calendar days after the mailing date of a Decision or Decision Upon Review of the Appeals Board. Appeals filed late will generally be allowed only in cases of departmental error or misinformation, or failure by the post office to properly deliver the determination.
If you qualify for services at CLS, please contact us as soon as you receive the hearing notice
There are several laws that protect most employees from discrimination in the workplace. These laws protect you against employment discrimination when it involves:
Besides the Equal Pay Act, before you can sue your employer, all charges of discrimination must be brought to either the EEOC within 300 days or the AG Civil Rights Division within 180 days of the last act of discrimination. Here is the link for filing an EEOC claim: https://www.eeoc.gov/employees/howtofile.cfm. Here is the link to information about filing a claim with the AG Civil Rights Division: opens in a new windowhttps://www.azag.gov/civil-rights/discrimination/employment. If you are filing a harassment claim, you should also check to see if your employer has policies and procedures you must follow.
If you file with the EEOC and you are offered mediation, CLS may be able to assist you with the mediation. However, CLS does not assist with filing a charge of discrimination nor with filing a lawsuit based on discrimination, should you require assistance in those matters you may want to contact the private bar.
After you have your right to sue letter, you can look for a private attorney.
Workers Compensation is a “no fault” system in which the injured worker receives medical care and compensation benefits no matter who caused the job related accident. The Industrial Commission administers the Arizona Workers Compensation. If you are injured on the job, first you should report the injury to your employer. A claim must be filed with the Industrial Commission one year from the date of injury you became aware of the job related condition. When you go to the doctor, you should inform the doctor that this a job injury. CLS does not assist with workers compensation claims. For more information on job injuries, see opens in a new windowhttps://www.ica.state.az.us
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