MCR Employment Morsels: Hostile Work Environment, Genetic Information, Last Paycheck Overview
Hostile Work Environment
A hostile work environment is only unlawful if it is motivated by discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or genetic information.
A hostile work environment claim is composed of a series of separate acts that collectively constitute one “unlawful employment practice.” The employee must be able to prove: (1) s/he was subjected to verbal or physical conduct of a discriminatory nature; (2) the conduct was unwelcomed; and (3) the conduct was objectively and subjectively sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of his/her employment, that is, that s/he perceived his/her work environment to be hostile, and that a reasonable person in his/her position would perceive it to be so. The law does not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, and is not a civility code for the American workplace.
As a general rule, employers cannot obtain genetic information from applicants or employees. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), passed by Congress in 2008 and enforced by the EEOC, prevents employers from demanding genetic information, and discriminating on the basis of genetic information in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, fringe benefits, or any other term or condition of employment.
GINA applies whenever an employer conducts a medical exam, and employers must make sure that they or their agents do not violate the law.
In Arizona, when an employee is discharged, the employer must pay wages due him/her within seven working days or the end of the next regular pay period, whichever is sooner. If an employee quits, the employer must pay him all wages due to him/her in the usual manner, but no later than the regular payday for the pay period during which the employee quit. If the employer fails to pay wages due to the employee as set out above, the employee may sue the employer or former employer for triple the amount of the unpaid wages.