Whistleblowing occurs when an employee comes forward to notify management or other authorities that someone in the company is breaking the law. There are federal protections for some whistleblowers, such as those employees who allege SEC violations and work at publicly-traded companies. Arizona also provides some protection for whistleblowers, although there are several specific requirements that must be met in order to bring an action under Arizona’s whistleblowing statute.
Arizona’s Whistleblower Law
A.R.S. § 23-1501 provides the circumstances under which an Arizona employee can bring a wrongful termination lawsuit. The whistleblower provision gives an employee a claim if they are terminated after disclosing illegal activities within the company to an appropriate manager or supervisor. There are a number of requirements that must be satisfied in order to bring a claim under this section.
- First, this section applies when the employer has terminated the employment relationship, but does not apply to other types of retaliation.
- The termination must be in retaliation for the whistleblowing action.
- The whistleblowing must be to disclose activities at the company that violate the Arizona Constitution or other state law. A violation of federal law is not covered by this section.
- The disclosure must be made to a manager or supervisor or to an appropriate employee of a public agency. If the employee discloses information to the media, he or she will not be protected under the statute.
As you can see, there are many ways for an employer to avoid liability under this section, such as claiming that the termination was for a different reason than retaliation or that the disclosure was unreasonable or improper. Consult an employment attorney if you have questions about whether you could be a protected whistleblower under Arizona or federal law.
Protections from Other Retaliatory Terminations
There are a number of other situations that may not be considered whistleblowing actions, but are still protected from retaliatory firing. For example, if you file a workers’ compensation claim after a job-related injury and your employer terminates you, you may have a wrongful termination claim under Arizona law.
Wrongful terminations also occur when you file a claim for employment discrimination or a violation of Arizona’s wage and hour laws. Finally, if you refuse to commit an action that violates Arizona law and are terminated after this refusal, you may also be able to bring a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Discuss your case with a wrongful termination attorney to learn more about your rights and remedies under both Arizona and federal law.
Chernoff Law handles employment law matters throughout Arizona. Contact us by calling 480-719-7307 to discuss your employment disputes.