At-Will Employment and Exceptions

Before learning about at will employment exceptions in Arizona, it is important to first understand what at will employment means. At will employment means that an employer can release an employee from his or her duties for any reason, at any time. If you are wondering, “Is Arizona an at will state?” then the answer is, yes, it is. However, there are important exceptions to at will employment that can make the difference in determining a termination that is justified and legal versus a termination that is illegal. Exceptions to at will employment in AZ are classified into three different sections: public-policy, implied-contract and covenant-of-good-faith. To find out more information regarding what is employment at will, along with its exceptions, continue reviewing the information below.

What is employment at will in Arizona?

At will employment in AZ indicates that an employer has the right to terminate an employee for any reason at any time. Arizona is considered an at will employment state. Understanding why at-will employment in Arizona is important generally has to do with wrongful termination claims. When an employee is dismissed or terminated in an at-will state for reasons that are not discriminatory in nature, then he or she may be denied wrongful termination claims through this implied understanding. Yet, there are still at-will employment exceptions in Arizona that should be considered by every employee and employer.

What are the exceptions to at will employment in Arizona?

The at will employment exceptions in Arizona were implemented as a result of the employee-employer relationship no longer being an equal balance. Exceptions to at will employment were enforced so that an employee’s livelihood could not be destroyed or deeply affected simply because an employer chooses to terminate an employee. The three exceptions to at will employment in Arizona, public-policy, implied-contract and covenant of good faith, are all recognized in the state of Arizona.

Public-policy Exception to At Will Employment

Perhaps one the most recognized at will employment exceptions in Arizona, the public-policy exception, may also be the most important. The at will employment public policy exception is directed at employees who have been wrongfully terminated against existing public policy. Public policy at will employment exceptions in Arizona can include termination that directly violates the Arizona constitution, workers’ compensations claims or any other reason involving breaking the law. An example of public policy at-will employment exception would be if an employee was directed by an employer to break the law, say by providing altered testimony on the employer’s behalf, and is dismissed by refusing to do so. This exception to at-will employment will cover areas that can be detrimental to the public or public good. While the majority of states recognize this exception, the definitions of what may constitute policy will change with each state. To understand more about public policy at will employment exceptions in Arizona, download our guide today.

Implied-contract exception at will employment in Arizona

The implied-contract at will employment exceptions in Arizona involve recognizing that a contract between an employer and employee is in place, despite documentation of the contract being provided. When the conditions of employment are not governed by an employee handbook or documented proof of employment, there still may be a contract in place. When an employer provides a verbal or written outline of job requirements, including expectations that need to be followed throughout employment in order to keep a job securely, this is what is known as an implied contract. One of the easiest ways to understand implied-contract exceptions to at will employment in AZ is with an employee handbook. An employee handbook creates an implied-contract between an employee and an employer, especially one that outlines disciplinary actions and terminations which will result from certain occurrences.

Covenant-of-good-faith exceptions to at will employment in Arizona

The final exception to at will employment in Arizona is the covenant-of-good-faith exception. Out of the three exceptions to at will employment in the country, this is generally the least recognized, with only 11 states implementing the exception. Covenant-of-good-faith exceptions to at will employment provides fairness to every employee-employer relationship in Arizona. While broad in theory, the covenant-of-good-faith exception indicates that an employer who dismisses, terminates or disciplines an employee based on bad faith or malicious intentions will be prohibited. Fair dealings are provided to every employment relationship due to this at will employment exception. The issue, however, that many states have with this exception to employment at will is that it is too broad defined, and many loopholes can result. To find out more about the at will employment exceptions in Arizona, download our comprehensive state guide.



What Kinds of Employment Services Does Arizona Offer?

The state of Arizona offers various programs meant to assist residents who have become unemployed. These employment services include unemployment insurance programs and job training initiatives. To learn about how you can apply for unemployment benefits and receive job assistance in Arizona, download our guide today.


Who Is Eligible for Employment Services in Arizona?

Arizona residents that meet certain criteria can qualify to receive employment benefits and training. The state has set job loss standards that determine the eligibility and amount of benefits an individual may be able to receive. To find out if you are eligible for Arizona unemployment benefits, download our guide now.