Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona signed a new bill into law, offering help to those with criminal records to get a chance at finding a job.
House Bill 2067 allows convicted criminals the chance to set aside the conviction and obtain a Certificate of Second Chance. This certificate will allow for a second chance at employment, obtaining occupational licenses, and even for housing approval.
What Is A Certificate of Second Chance
Even though a person is unable to erase their criminal record, convicted criminals who have fulfilled their sentence or parole can have the court set aside the conviction to receive a certificate.
This certificate will give those with a felony or misdemeanor a greater chance at employment.
Convicted criminals will get a chance to apply for a Certificate of Second Chance starting on August 27, 2021.
Limitations Are In Place
There are some limitations when it comes to who can apply for a Certificate of Second Chance.
Those who CAN apply for the certificate are those with misdemeanors or with Class 4, Class 5, or Class 6 felonies. Two years must have passed since completing their sentence, including parole and probation.
There are some excluded crimes. Those who have committed the following are unable to apply for a Certificate of Second Chance:
· Driving under a suspended license
· Criminal speeding
· Aggressive driving
· Crime involving a deadly weapon
· Any sexual offenses, including those with victims under the age of 15
Obtaining A Certificate of Second Chance
For those who obtain a Certificate of Second Chance, still need to admit to any convictions when asked by an employer. All employers will be able to find that a person was issued a certificate through criminal background checks.
To successfully receive a Certificate of Second Chance, some factors are considered such as:
· Nature of the offense
· Compliance of the applicant
· The age of the applicant at the time of conviction
If you are interested in learning more about a Certificate of Second Chance, speak with our team to learn how we can assist you with the process.
Arizona is currently a right-to-work state, but could a new act proposed by Congress change that?
What Does Right to Work Mean?
As one of 27 states across the country, Arizona is considered a right-to-work state. What does this mean? It simply means that employees are not required to join a union or required to pay dues to a labor union. This gives employees much more financial freedom. However, under this law, an employer can terminate an employee for any reason or no reason at all.
The PRO Act
The PRO Act could jeopardize the state’s current labor laws. It was first introduced on February 4th and was passed by the House on March 9th. Now, the fate of the PRO Act is in the hands of the Senate. And if passed, we could see major changes surrounding labor laws for the first time in 70 years.
How Would the PRO Act Impact Arizona?
If passed, the PRO Act would restrict the right of unionized businesses, ending current right-to-work laws. Since Arizona employees are not required to join a union or pay dues, the new PRO Act would overturn this. This means that employees would be expected to pay union dues as part of their employment. The goal of the act is to increase union-represented employees along with increasing the power of unions.
Under the PRO Act, the definition of an employee would also expand to include independent contractors. This would cause employers to reclassify independent contractors as employees to help deal with the extra costs and pretty much decrease the amount of independent contractors available.
Nothing is set in stone and many feel that the PRO Act will not survive past the Senate. However, it is always best to be prepared and watch the progress of the act so you know what to expect as an employer or an employee. Talking with our team of legal experts will help you make the proactive steps needed to deal with any labor law changes in Arizona.
The recent election in Arizona passed Proposition 207, legalizing marijuana across the state. So, what does this mean for employers and employees across the state of Arizona?
The proposition allows the possession and sales of marijuana, but just like before, workers are not allowed to use the substance while at work. And even though it is legal to use, many employers may still prohibit the use.
Marijuana and the Workplace
Even though Proposition 207 was passed, employees may still require a pre-employment drug test and can decline to hire anyone who fails, with the exception of those with a medical marijuana card. Simply put, the proposition doesn’t restrict employers from enforcing drug-free restrictions at work.
Employment in Arizona
Arizona is home to at-will employment, which means an employee takes what they get from an employer, or they can leave the job. The law has little to say about the relationships between employees and employers.
Of course, an employer can’t decline a job to anyone over race, sex, gender, or religion. However, an employer can terminate or not hire someone over the use of recreational marijuana. The only exception is if the employee holds a medical marijuana card.
However, employers still are allowed to prohibit the use of marijuana on the job site, regardless of medical status.
Not all companies allow medical marijuana use for their employees however. A company that is a federal contractor or has “safety-sensitive” jobs can declare that employees cannot hold a medical marijuana card. “Safety-sensitive” jobs include commercial driving and dealing with heavy machinery.
Proposition 207 has no impact on the Medical Marijuana Act that was passed in 2010. However, it is smart to always disclose to your employer that you hold a medical marijuana card by providing clear documentation.
Hernandez Law Firm
If you are an employer or employee and have any questions or concerns surrounding employment law in Arizona, Hernandez Law Firm’s team can provide the advice you need to fully understand employment law. Employment law issues are timely matters and may need attention immediately. It is best to get the legal advice you need as quickly as possible.
The pandemic has brought on many changes in the workplace. So, it is a good time to revisit wage and hour policies during these uncertain times.
Running a business can be tough, especially during these tough times. However, a business owner needs to always be in the know and keep up with new policies. They also need to adapt and make any changes needed to keep up with the new circumstances. Remember, always look to better your business and keep the best interest of your employees in mind.
Since telecommuting has become more popular, more employees working from home means policies need to be updated. These policies need to describe these changes and set new telecommute policies and boundaries in place.
Keeping Track of Time Worked
Even though employees are working at home, punch clocks and other protocols need to be enforced. It can be difficult to manage hours worked, any overtime worked, and any breaks taken. Luckily, you can easily amend these policies to better fit the current telecommunication circumstances.
How can you achieve this? By setting schedules, using timekeeping management, and establishing clear work hours. The key is to be consistent with these new policies and communicating them to your employees.
Make sure to set clear expectations of responsiveness and availability to avoid any conflicts. Changes may need to be made as things continue, but you can still roll with the punches for an efficient workday.
Help Employees Avoid Distractions
It may seem strict, but setting schedules and making sure that work is actually done on the clock and not off the clock, might be needed for some employees.
Employees face many additional distractions when working from home. This can make it difficult for them to manage their time. Help them eliminate distractions and stay on track by sticking to a strict schedule.
To help keep track of things even more, always require approval for overtime work since this is very hard to manage remotely, especially for hourly workers.
Of course, you want to encourage employees to document everything accurately. This is when you might want to invest in management software to help keep track of projects, deadlines, and hours… all in one place. Have questions regarding current labor laws or employee wage policies? The team at Hernandez Law can help point you in the right direction.
Things are changing and a new norm is being created after the pandemic. Covid-19 has impacted all aspects of our lives, but how is it impacting places of employment and employment labor laws in Arizona?
Just recently, Maricopa County announced that masks are mandatory in public. This includes where you work. Some companies already made it mandatory, but for the time being, now everyone in the county must comply.
Some places are even limiting the number of people allowed in an establishment and making clear marks of social distancing.
Working During a Pandemic
Some people do not feel comfortable returning back to work just yet. So, then what?
Well, the employer actually has leverage when requiring employees to return to the actual workplace.
If the worker refuses, the employer can either offer to separate the worker from the public and other employees, lay off the worker, or find a replacement for the worker.
However, keep in mind that federal law does require the need to provide a safe workplace for all employees, especially right now.
There are some fine lines that employers need to be aware of. Allowing certain employees to continue to work at home because they have compromised immune systems and requiring others to return to a workplace is actually looked down on according to federal law. This is because you cannot decide who is allowed to return back to work based on disabilities, only using seniority and disciplinary history.
State of Arizona
In the state of Arizona, if you resign voluntarily, you usually can’t receive unemployment. But what happens if you feel unsafe to return to work? That is a different story.
If you can provide real proof of unsafe conditions at your workplace, you could receive compensation and be justified for leaving your job. Before doing so, always talk with the Department of Economic Security to address all of our concerns and report any safety concerns to OSHA.
Talk With an Employment Law Attorney
If you are unsure about your rights during a pandemic, as an employer or an employee, it is always best to talk with an experienced employment law attorney. They will be able to walk you through everything to ensure all of your questions are being answered, even during the pandemic.
We specialize in employment law at Hernandez Law Firm and can provide you the advice you need to fully understand your rights during these times.