The At-Will Doctrine
n Arizona, most private-sector workers are employees “at-will.” “At-will” employment means that the employment relationship may be ended at any time by either the employee or the employer for any reason, for no reason, or for a morally wrong reason.
Some private-sector workers are not employees “at-will” because they signed an employment contract. Generally, these agreements are for a specified term. If an employee is terminated without good cause prior to the expiration of the contract term, the employer breached the contract and wrongfully terminated the employee.
An employer cannot terminate an employee for something that violates public policy. Termination in violation of public policy occurs when an employer terminates the employee in violation of Arizona's statutes or constitution. Additionally, an employer cannot terminate an employee in retaliation for refusing to commit an act that would violate Arizona's statutes or constitution; for whistleblowing; or or anything reasonably believed to be a violation of Arizona law.
An employer is not allowed to terminate an employee because the employee is in a “protected class.” An employer is prohibited from terminating an employee due to the employee's race, color, age, pregnancy, national origin, disability, gender, religion, family medical leave and veteran status.
An employer is not allowed to terminate an employee because the employee engaged in a “protected activity.” Protected activity can include the employee's participation in an investigation into discrimination or opposing an activity that is illegal.