Over the last few years, service animals have been a hot topic. From allowing them into grocery stores to permitting them to fly on an airplane. But where do service animals stand in the workplace?
Every year on June 26th, Americans celebrate taking your dog to work day, but what about every other day of the year?
The Americans with Disabilities Acts defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for those with a disability, such as a physical sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.
It is important for service animals to be licensed and to always provide the proper documentation establishing the need for a service animal. Penalties and violations for a first-time offense can be up to $75,000 for those with a “fake” service animal.
Service Animals in the Public
There are of course concerns about service animals in the workplace when it comes to other employees, such as those who may suffer from allergies.
However, there is a way to accommodate everyone:
- Allow employees to work in other areas
- Establish different travel paths for employees
- Use portable air purifiers
- Allow employees to work from home
- Offer a flexible schedule to employees
- Deep clean work areas
Keep in mind that at the end of the day, it is the right of the employee to bring their service animal to work.
Before any final decisions on how to handle service animals in the workplace, make sure to speak with your human resources department and consult with an attorney.
Talking with an Attorney
Before taking any action, as an employee or an employer, it is best to talk with an experienced employment law attorney to know your rights. They will be able to walk you through everything to ensure everyone’s rights are being met. At Hernandez Law Firm, we specialize in employment law and can provide the advice you need to fully understand your rights as well as evaluate each case carefully.
Employer discrimination is characterized as prejudice of an existing or potential employee based on certain characteristics, most commonly including:
- Political views
- Financial status
Although the principle of these laws might seem fairly straight forward, it’s often difficult to tell whether you have been a victim of employer discrimination yourself. However, a better understanding of the employment laws AZ observes can provide some clarity on the situation.
Identifying Discriminating Behavior from Employers
Discrimination can happen in potentially any professional setting, making it hard to identify. Most commonly it has been cited in situations of hiring/firing, compensation hearings, use of company property or facilities and additional fringe benefits.
Arizona employment discrimination laws are in place to ensure an equal playing field for all working professionals. If you believe any of the characteristics listed above factored into an employer’s decision to hire/fire you or withhold opportunities to earn higher pay, you potentially have the basis of a claim.
It’s equally important to understand what behavior does not classify as employment discrimination. If an employer has a legitimate reason to terminate your position based on poor job performance or the company is experiencing widespread layoffs, you may not have a valid claim to justify legal compensation.
Ultimately, the best way to determine whether your employment discrimination claim holds weight is by speaking with a licensed professional — experienced attorneys who specialize in such cases. Consulting with an attorney allows you to explore the legal options available to you and plan a course of action.
Their legal counsel can also prevent you from putting together a frivolous lawsuit that might not hold up in court.
Filing a claim is much easier with the help of an experienced attorney. Relying on their assistance, you can expedite the process and move quicker with your legal proceeding. You can avoid hiccups like paperwork and filings that would otherwise hinder you from executing the motion in a timely matter.
Do you believe you’ve been the victim of employment discrimination? Should you ever find yourself in an unthinkable situation in your professional career, don’t hesitate to take legal action — contact us to assess your claim.
In Arizona, there are safeguards in place to prevent employees from being wrongfully fired. These laws are commonly referred to as wrongful termination laws. If you believe your employer has violated any of these laws when terminating your employment, you may have a strong case. There are three main categories under the Arizona wrongful termination laws:
Breaking a Contract. One way an employer can violate wrongful termination laws is if the employer breaks a contract between them and the employee. The contract does not need to be written. It can be a contract made verbally or an implied contract. A written contract would be the result of a contract hiring, whereas an implied contract is when the employer gives the assumption the employee would maintain employment beyond the date they were fired. If an employer breaks a contract you had with them either verbally, written, or implied, they are in violation of the laws.
Discriminatory Firing. Under Arizona Law, an employer cannot fire an employee based on discrimination. They cannot discriminate based on sex, pregnancy, age, race, national origin, citizenship status, disability, or genetic information. The specifics regulations under these laws depend on the individual and the size of the company. For example, an employee cannot claim discriminatory firing based on age if they are not over 40 years old. A company’s size also determines how closely they must follow these laws. Most discriminatory laws apply to businesses having 15 or more employees, but others may vary. A company with as little as 4 employees can be persecuted for firing an employee due to discrimination based on citizenship status, while a company must have at least 20 employees to be accountable for firing based on age.
Wage and Time Off. If an employer does not follow the Arizona minimum wage law and pay for employees working over 40 hours a week, they are also in violation of Arizona laws. Further, employees must follow certain time off programs such as military leave, jury duty, voting time off, and medical leave. If an employee is fired based on taking time off for any of these areas, they have a strong possibility of having a wrongful termination case. To read more information about the laws regarding time off in the workplace, visit the Employment Law Handbook.
If you feel your employer has fired you in a way that violated any of the above laws, give us a call today. Our experienced team can gather all the required information to help you build a strong case.
A Starbucks employee in Surprise was fired in 2014 after 7 years of employment. She claims that she was fired because she is deaf, and because she repeatedly asked for an interpreter at company meetings and training sessions. The woman has filed a lawsuit against Starbucks in the U.S. District Court in Phoenix under provisions of the Americans with Disability Act, alleging discrimination on the basis of her disability, failure to provide reasonable accommodation, and retaliation.
The woman, who has been deaf since she was a baby, was able to serve customers by lip-reading. Although this worked for her day to day job, she had a hard time lip-reading during staff meetings and training sessions, and asked managers many times for an American Sign Language interpreter. The woman says Starbucks provide an interpreter on one such occasion, and also allowed the woman’s relative to come interpret on other occasions. The company also hired an interpreter for a meeting informing the woman that she needed to have tattoos removed from her hands (the tattoo policy at Starbucks has since changed).
According to her attorney, the woman also struggles with reading certain types of documents. A store manager provided the woman with printed work schedules, which helped the woman greatly. However, when the store manager changed, the new manager refused to accommodate the woman in this way, and the woman claims she struggled with understanding the work schedule that was posted on the wall. As a result, she mixed up work dates, and received a negative work review. The next time she saw an interpreter at Starbucks, it was when she was fired.
According to a spokeswoman for Starbucks’ corporate offices, Starbucks cares deeply about all employees, and strives to create an inclusive and accessible environment for everyone. Starbucks has received awards for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, including accommodations for ASL interpretation.
Read the original article here.