Arizona's sick leave policy assumes certain employer actions are retaliatory
- Arizona employers will want to tread carefully when dealing with employees who've requested paid sick leave within the last 90 days, The Arizona Republic reports. The state's paid sick leave bill will make it harder for employers to defend themselves in court, if they want to fire, transfer, re-assign or take any other employment action against such an employee.
- Arizona law requires businesses and non-profits with one or more workers to provide three days or at least 24 hours of sick leave each year. Organizations with 15 or more workers must provide at least 40 hours or five days of sick time.
- Erin Bass, an associate attorney at Phoenix-based Steptoe & Johnson, told the Republic that the sick leave policy makes it easy for employees to sue employers for almost any reason because they're out on sick leave or have requested a leave.
Arizona's policy is unusual because it automatically assumes that any action employers take is retaliatory unless proven otherwise. As paid leave laws blossom across the U.S., it's a reminder that local-level compliance is trickier than ever.
Of course, employers know the issue isn't being pushed in the legislative realm of things for no reason: the vast majority of Americans support paid leave measures, according to research from Pew. Furthermore, both sides of the spectrum, up to and including members of the Trump administration, have spoken positively of paid leave measure. But the issue of who pays still divides Democrats and Republicans.
Such policies make documenting workers' actions more important than ever. Managers should keep written, detailed accounts of workers' actions and behaviors, and make sure HR has duplicate records. Documentation is still the best defense in a lawsuit.