Arizona Worker’s compensation retaliation

Doyle Dennis LLP represents injured workers who have been terminated following a worker’s compensation claim in Arizona.  Specifically, the Arizona Employment Protection Act (AEPA), Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 23-1501 provides a cause of action when an employer has terminated the employment relationship of an employee in retaliation for the exercise of rights under the workers’ compensation statutes prescribed in chapter 6 of this title.

Who is protected?

The AEPA applies to all employees in Arizona who have suffered on-the-job injuries or exercise of rights under the workers’ compensation.  Under Arizona law, any employee working for any employer is protected by the AEPA.

How can I prove retaliation?

To prevail on a wrongful termination claim, an employee must show that his filing a workers’ compensation claim was a substantial factor in the decision to terminate his employment.  In considering claims under § 23-1501, courts apply the McDonnell/ Douglas burden-shifting framework. Thus, an employee needs to show they engaged in a protected activity, suffered an adverse employment action, and there is a causal link between the two.

In 2017, Doyle Dennis LLP helped ensure that Arizona continued to protect injured workers who have been retaliated against.  Specifically, in Lipsky v. Safety Nat’l Cas. Corp., No. 1 CA-CV 15-0337, 2017 Ariz. App. Unpub. LEXIS 117 (App. Feb. 2, 2017), the Arizona Court of Appeals found that an employer maintained a policy that, potentially, targeted on-the-job injury claims, while treating off-the-job injuries different.  As a result, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial courts decision dismissing the case, and remanded the case back to the trial court.  Through this advocacy, Doyle Dennis helped provide important protections for Arizona workers who have suffered on-the-job injuries.

What are the time deadlines?

The Arizona Employment Protection Act likely has a 1-year statute of limitations for worker’s compensation retaliation claims.

What Damages are available?

Under the Arizona Employment Protection Act, a worker may recover lost earnings and benefits and any decrease in earning capacity, harm to plaintiff’s reputation; lost insurance coverage for medical bills; pain, discomfort, and/or anxiety already experience and reasonably probable to be experienced in the future as a result of the unlawful termination; reasonable medical expenses; physical injury to plaintiff caused by the wrongful termination; and expenses of securing other employment. All that is required is that the wrongful termination is “‘a substantial factor in bringing about the harm’” and “damages are closely connected to the tortious conduct so that they were reasonably foreseeable.”