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Arizona Expands Employment Protection Laws for Workers

In recent years, many states have taken steps to expand employment protection laws in order to provide workers with greater rights and safeguards in the workplace. Arizona is one of the latest states to join this trend, with the passage of two new laws that will go into effect in 2021. These laws will provide additional protections for employees and expand the scope of anti-discrimination laws in the state.

Expansion of the Arizona Civil Rights Act

The first of these new laws, Senate Bill 1480, expands the coverage of the Arizona Civil Rights Act (ACRA) to include all employers in the state, regardless of the number of employees they have. Previously, the ACRA only applied to employers with 15 or more employees. This expansion means that all workers in Arizona, regardless of the size of their employer, will now be protected against discrimination and retaliation in the workplace.

The ACRA prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, and genetic information. It also prohibits retaliation against employees who report discrimination or participate in investigations or proceedings related to discrimination claims. With the expansion of the ACRA, workers in Arizona will have greater protection against discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in the workplace.

New Law Prohibits Discrimination Based on Pregnancy and Childbirth

The second new law, House Bill 2045, amends the Arizona Civil Rights Act to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy and childbirth. This amendment brings Arizona in line with federal law, which already prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and childbirth under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Under this new law, employers are prohibited from making decisions about hiring, firing, promotions, and other terms and conditions of employment based on an employee’s pregnancy or childbirth. Employers are also required to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees, such as modified work schedules or additional breaks, unless it would cause an undue hardship on the employer.

What This Means for Workers in Arizona

These two new laws represent a significant expansion of employment protection laws in Arizona. With the expansion of the ACRA, more workers will now be protected against discrimination and retaliation in the workplace. And the amendment to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy and childbirth will provide pregnant employees with greater rights and protections in the workplace.

Employers in Arizona should take note of these new laws and ensure that their policies and practices are in compliance with these expanded protections. It is also important for workers to be aware of their rights under these laws and to report any instances of discrimination or retaliation to the appropriate authorities.

Conclusion

The passage of these two new laws in Arizona is a positive step towards providing workers with greater rights and protections in the workplace. By expanding the coverage of the Arizona Civil Rights Act and prohibiting discrimination based on pregnancy and childbirth, Arizona has shown a commitment to promoting equal treatment and opportunities for all workers in the state.

As an employment law expert, it is my hope that other states will follow in Arizona’s footsteps and continue to expand employment protection laws for workers across the country.

J. Horowitz
J. Horowitz

J. Horowitz leverages over two decades of experience as a seasoned employment law attorney in Arizona to offer insightful freelance writing on the same subject. After a successful career advocating for fairness and justice in the workplace, J. now dedicates his expertise to writing comprehensive articles, blog posts, and thought leadership pieces that illuminate the complexities of employment law.