Arizona’s New Law Affords Second Chances to Arizonans With Criminal Convictions

On April 1, 2021, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed into law House Bill (H.B.) 2067, which amends Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) Section 13-905 to allow the courts to issue an order for a “Certificate of Second Chance” for individuals “whose judgment of guilt is set aside” after a criminal conviction. H.B. 2067 allows individuals who receive a Certificate of Second Chance the opportunity to apply for and obtain occupational licenses in Arizona, and provides some additional protections to employers, among other things.

Arizona COVID-19 Update: Pandemic Liability Shield Legislation Awaits Governor’s Signature

During his January 2021 State of the State address, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey called for “COVID liability protection, so that a statewide emergency doesn’t line the pockets of trial attorneys with frivolous lawsuits.” On March 30, 2021, the Arizona State Legislature answered Governor Ducey’s call and passed Arizona’s pandemic-related liability shield legislation. Senate Bill (SB) 1377 establishes civil immunity for employers and health care providers for actions (or omissions to act) related to “a public health pandemic that is the subject of the state of emergency declared by the Governor.”

Equality Act Reintroduced to U.S. Congress

On February 18, 2021, U.S. Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) reintroduced the Equality Act (H.R. 5), a bill that would amend federal law (including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Although the U.S. House of Representatives passed a nearly identical version of the Equality Act in 2019,  the bill never gained traction in the U.S. Senate and died in committee.

Where to Open Shop: New Report Ranks the Best Places to Do Business in the U.S.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the global economy, and employers are increasingly considering which are the most and least employer-friendly places  new offices, distribution centers, and operational locations, both during the pandemic and after emerging from it. The Arizona State University Center for the Study of Economic Liberty recently released Doing Business North America 2020 (DBNA), a report analyzing and comparing data indicative of the regulatory context for business activity in a number of metropolitan areas. The report ranked 130 cities across Canada, Mexico, and the United States, based on 111 variables for determining where the best places to do business are currently (although given the ever-changing local, state, and federal landscapes, the assessment may change frequently). The variables underlying the rankings fall into six broad categories: starting a business; employing workers; obtaining electricity, land and space use; and paying taxes and resolving insolvency.

Minors in the Workplace During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, inconsistent reports claimed everything from children being immune to COVID-19 to children being more vulnerable to the virus to children acting as asymptomatic carriers. More recently, the CDC has reported that “[w]hereas most COVID-19 cases in children are not severe, serious COVID-19 illness resulting in hospitalization still occurs in this age group.” The CDC’s latest guidance states that not only can children contract the virus, but the “prevalence of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection and duration of pre-symptomatic infection in children are not well understood.” It seems clear that like asymptomatic adults, asymptomatic children have not, at this time, undergone mass testing.

Arizona Governor Extends Stay-at-Home Order, But Non-essential Retailers May Take First Steps to Reopening

Only one day before Arizona’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” order was set to expire, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey issued Executive Order (EO) 2020-33. Governor Ducey announced the modified extension of the stay-at-home order at a press conference on the afternoon of April 29, 2020. Consistent with the previous order, Arizonans must continue limiting their time away from their homes, except for participating in “Essential Activities,” employment in “Essential Functions,” and utilizing services or products of “Essential Businesses.”

Is a Global Pandemic a De Minimis Hardship? EEOC Guidance on COVID-19 and Religious Accommodation

As government officials at all levels continue issuing guidance on best practices for employers to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, some jurisdictions are taking the first steps to “reopen” their local economies. Before the coronavirus, employers were increasingly facing issues of religious accommodation requests to avoid influenza vaccines. As employees return to work undergoing temperature checks and possibly COVID-19 testing via swabs and blood draws, and healthcare professionals work to potentially develop a COVID-19 vaccine, employee religious accommodation requests will likely continue if not increase during this time of change.

Returning to Work in Arizona: What Employers Need to Do to Prepare

On March 30, 2020, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey issued the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” order. The order, which went into effect on March 31, 2020, is set to expire on April 30, 2020. While he has not officially released a return to work plan, Governor Ducey previously stated that he would act in Arizona’s best interest, and is considering three options: (1) allow the order to expire; (2) extend the order; or (3) extend the order with modifications.

California Prohibits Most “No Rehire” Provisions in Settlement Agreements

Employment litigation settlement agreements often include a mutually negotiated “no-rehire” provision by which the departing employee agrees not to seek employment with the company in the future. A recently enacted California law will require companies to refrain from including such provisions in most instances.

New Mexico Passes Ban-the-Box and Expungement Laws

On April 3, 2019, New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law two bills related to criminal background checks that may affect employers operating in the state. The first is a ban-the-box law that prohibits private employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on an employment application. The second allows certain individuals to petition the court for expungement of criminal records.

New Mexico’s Expanded Employment Protections for Medical Marijuana Users

In recent months, the New Mexico Legislature enacted legislation expanding employment protections for medical marijuana users. Recent changes to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, New Mexico’s medical marijuana law, expand the range of medical conditions for which medical marijuana may be prescribed and create new employment protections for employees who legally use medical marijuana.

Arizona Employers, Remain Vigilant! State Legislature Approves New Service Methods for Writs of Garnishments

The Arizona legislature recently passed a bill that would amend Arizona Revised Statutes Section 12-1574 to change how writs of garnishments can be issued and served on garnishees, including employers. House Bill (HB) 2230 went to Governor Doug Ducey for signature on March 19, 2019, and he is expected to sign it soon.

Please Release Me: New California Civil Code Section 1542 Release Language Effective January 1, 2019

Given the litigious environment in California, employers operating in the state are in great need of enforceable general release terms in severance and settlement agreements. California employers entering into severance or settlement agreements will want to be aware of the amendment to California Civil Code Section 1542.

The Top Employment Cases of 2017 and a Sneak Peek at 2018

And the biggest employment case of 2017 . . . is not here yet. The reality: Everyone will be eagerly waiting another four to six months for the biggest and most-anticipated employment case of 2017: class action waivers. While the Supreme Court of the United States’ taking certiorari in January 2017 and likely issuing its decision in late 2017/early 2018—unequivocally the biggest thing 2017 will see, several other cases and developments so far in 2017 are worthy of discussion.

ICA Issues 18 New Pages of Paid Sick Leave FAQs: The Top 10 Highlights for Employers

On June 30, 2017—the day before Arizona’s new paid sick leave law went into effect—the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) issued 18 pages of new frequently asked questions (FAQs). Some of the FAQs merely restate the draft regulations, while others provide useful examples helping to give color to draft supplemental regulations recently issued.

Need Your Own Sick Leave Yet? ICA Issues Supplemental Draft Regulations on Arizona Paid Sick Leave

On June 27, 2017, the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) issued supplemental draft regulations. The supplemental regulations tweak some of the draft regulations the ICA issued on May 5, 2017. Some supplemental regulations are entirely new and help clarify several important yet unanswered questions lingering in employers’ minds.

Arizona’s Paid Sick Leave Law, Part III: Record-Keeping, Shifting Employment Relationships, and Tips for Drafting Policies

Arizona’s new paid sick leave law—Proposition 206 or The Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act—will go into effect on July 1, 2017. Since the law passed, the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) has crafted proposed regulations and a number of frequently asked questions (FAQs). This three-part blog series examines the intricacies of the ICA’s current proposed regulations and FAQs.