Arizona is a right-to-work state, so our employment law relating to termination generally favors the employer. But not always. The employee can find favorable law if the termination involves discriminantion or violation of the company’s own rules and procedures or in whistleblower situations.
It is critical to get to an experienced attorney when the problem first arises. This is so because the things you do or don’t do at the outset of the problem could determine the ultimate outcome. So you will need guidance. And sometimes when the employer hears from an attorney at the early stages, he will rethink the termination.
Other than defending against the employee claims listed above, the employer is most likely to get into confrontation with his employee when that employee has a special skill or has access to proprietary information and then decides to leave. Both sides have an understandable point of view: the employer hates the thought that he has trained that employee to now take the employer’s business, and the employee feels that she has given the employer what he paid her for but that now she has the right to pursue her profession in a way that benefits her.
The employer may have tried to avoid this problem by inserting a covenant not to compete or an anti-piracy provision into the employee’s contract. But those clauses get litigated frequently despite efforts to avoid litigation. Both sides need the assistance at the front end of the relationship in drafting those key clauses from a litigator who has seen how they breakdown in litigation. And when litigation appears to be a possibility, get to a lawyer for a consultation quickly to see just where you are on solid ground and where you are not.