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Michelle Ray Matheson
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Michelle Matheson’s Answers

55 total


  • Can an employer hold your paycheck because you have not completed an EXIT INTERVIEW?

    Long story short I quit my job a few weeks ago and today we usually get paid and I know I should be receiving a couple days worth of pay and today I called and asked about my check and they said they're holding it until i do my exit interview. So ...

    Michelle’s Answer

    Arizona wage law defines in A.R.S. 23-353 when a departing employee must receive his or her final paycheck. If the employee quit, then the final wages are due "no later than the regular payday for the pay period during which the termination occurred." If the employer terminated the employee, then the final wages are due "within seven working days or the end of the next regular pay period, whichever is sooner." Arizona wage law also defines in A.R.S. 23-352 when an employer can withhold a portion of an employee's wages. These limited exceptions are: (1) required state and federal tax withholdings; (2) if the employee has provided written consent to the withholding, such as for repayment of an advance, or a voluntary employment deduction; or (3) there is a reasonable good faith dispute as to the amount of wages due, such as a counterclaim for theft, damage or failure to return employer property.

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  • Do I need a lawyer for age discrimination

    Myself and four other managers were let go from American Airlines workforce due to reduction in workforce yet it was a lie people have been hired for our positions in Pay raises have been given and the station is still not Close all five of u...

    Michelle’s Answer

    In order to preserve your right to pursue a claim for age discrimination you must file a timely charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The EEOC has a district office in central Phoenix and its investigators conduct new intake interviews on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, beginning at 8:00 a.m. To learn more about this process you can consult the EEOC website at www.eeoc.gov and select the tab entitled Employees/Applicants and then select the link entitled "filing a charge." You may also want to consult with a local employment attorney to learn more about this process and the damages available under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

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  • I've been discriminated against regarding employment. If EEOC rejects claim, will I have 2nd chance to seek action? With whom?

    If EEOC rejects claim of discrimination, will I be allowed to seek action via personal lawyer. Large company with over 1500 employees, feel odds are against me and EEOC will not rule fairly.

    Michelle’s Answer

    Yes, only in very limited circumstances does the EEOC file a lawsuit on an employee's behalf. The vast majority of charges filed with the EEOC result in a dismissal which does not find for either the employee or the employer. The dismissal notice, called a "Right to Sue" notice, will be mailed by the EEOC to the Charging Party (the employee) at the completion of its investigation. This Right to Sue Notice informs the employee that he or she has 90 days from receipt of the Notice to file a civil lawsuit for monetary damages. An employee can then retain a lawyer to file the lawsuit or the employee can file the lawsuit on their own, pro per, without the assistance of legal counsel.

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  • Do I need a Lawyer?

    I have a employee who will not return to work after he heard a conversation where a employee was joking about making racial and gay slurs. The employee says they are afraid of the employee making them. This is not a common thing and has happe...

    Michelle’s Answer

    It sounds like the employee has made a complaint to management about conduct which he or she believes is unlawful harassment based upon sex or race. As a general rule, one stray comment is not sufficient to create a legal cause of action for unlawful harassment. However, it is important for the employer to have a policy prohibiting this type of conduct, and to promptly investigate these types of claims and take appropriate remedial action. If you have not dealt with these types of issues before, you may want to engage legal counsel to assist you with this process. Although your question does not indicate the size of your company, under the Arizona Civil Rights Act, claims for sexual harassment apply to all small businesses, with one or more employees.

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  • I am a 10 year banner employee my supervisor constantly harressed me . She used tardiness against me to fire me.

    I talked to hr about her favoritism and harassment other employees have been tardy and not punished . I was written up and finally fired what can I do?

    Michelle’s Answer

    In Arizona, for an employee to establish a claim for wrongful termination based on disparate application of the employer's attendance policy the employee must prove that he or she was singled out because of a legally protected status. This could include a number of protected categories, including but not limited to the employee's race, national origin, age, disability, gender, religion, or retaliation for the employee engaging in protected conduct. The fact that the supervisor simply had favorites, however, is not enough. Your question indicates that you believed you were singled out because of your sex. If you believe you can demonstrate that you were singled out because of your gender for harsher treatment, the first step toward pursuing a legal claim is to file a timely charge of discrimination with the EEOC. The EEOC has a link on its website that provides the intake paperwork necessary to begin this process. It is the "intake assessment tool" link under "how to file a charge".

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  • My moms company is relocating. All employes have hundreds hours of vacation and pto. Company is refusing to pay .legal?

    Company ,work issues,work related,human resource,job issues

    Michelle’s Answer

    Under Arizona wage law, accrued but unused vacation and PTO may be considered "wages" that must be paid to the employee. The standard is whether the employee reasonably expected to be paid for this time. A.R.S. 23-350(6). To determine what is a reasonable anticipation, courts will look at the employer's written policies and past practice. For example, if the employee handbook states that employees who leave in good standing are entitled to payout for this time, then there is a stronger argument for payment than if there is no written policy. Conversely, if there is a written policy that states that the employer does not pay out unused vacation or PTO, then the employee will have difficulty establishing a reasonable expectation of payment.

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  • Holding back pay more than 5 days

    My employer is consistently paying me 10 to 15 days after the end of the pay period. I thought an Arizona employer had to pay you in 5 days or less. I read the rule where it is a petty offense to do this, but is there a civil remedy?

    Michelle’s Answer

    Arizona law has different timelines for payment of wages to an existing employee vs. a final paycheck. As a general rule, an employer in Arizona only has to pay its employees twice per month. This rule is found in ARS 23-251. Final wages to a terminated employee are due within 7 working days or the end of the next pay period. ARS 23-353. I've attached a link to the Arizona Labor Code below.

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  • Is it legal to order an employee to cut time off the clock from fear of reaching overtime

    I am scheduled 8 hours a day sometimes work goes beyond 8 hours then your expected to stay. However once the time is accumulated you are expected to take a " longer lunch " is this legal

    Michelle’s Answer

    Whether or not you are being paid correctly depends on when your employer is asking you to take the longer lunch period to compensate for others times when you worked more than your 8 hour shift ("comp time"). Federal law states that you must be compensated at one and a half times your regular rate of pay if you work over 40 hours in any workweek. A workweek is a 7 day period of 168 consecutive hours designated by your employer as the beginning and end points for calculation of overtime eligibility.
    A private employer (the rules are different for certain government employees) can direct an employee to take comp time only in very limited circumstances. For example, if you worked through your lunch period early in the workweek, your employer can direct you to take a longer lunch period (or leave early) during that same workweek to avoid having you exceed your regular 40 hours shift. What an employer cannot do is give you comp time in a future work week to avoid paying you overtime worked in a prior workweek.

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  • Is it legal if employer only gives 20 min lunch break if they are paid lunches?

    If my employer only provides us one 20min paid luncbreak + three 10min breaks daily on a 10hr shift (10.15 hrs exactly because we have to clockin 15 min early for prep-time). Are they in violation of state labor law? FYI: we only clock in at beg...

    Michelle’s Answer

    Neither Arizona or federal wage laws specifically require breaks or meal periods of longer than 20 minutes. Rather, the law distinguishes between what is a paid break or meal period and what can be unpaid. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, an employer must pay an hourly employee for any break periods which are less than 30 minutes in length. In other words, if you don't get an uninterrupted period of at least 30 minutes, the entire break period must be paid.

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  • Can an employer in AZ take back a yearly bonus from employees two weeks after it has been disbursed due to their error?

    Asking employees effected to pay half of the bonus back which is a 2 week paycheck amount. Employer just gave employees notice yesterday that paychecks will be garnished.

    Michelle’s Answer

    Whether an employer can lawfully withhold or require reimbursement of the bonus depends on whether the full bonus amount was actually earned, or whether it was truly an administrative error. The subject line of your question appears to indicate that there was an overpayment due to an administrative error by the employer. If that is the case, the employer is entitled to be paid back. The situation is really no different that if your bank incorrectly inputs a deposit into your checking account for $1,000 when it should have been $100. You don't get to keep the overpayment from the bank and you don't get to keep an erroneous overpayment from your employer. On the other hand, if the employer had a bonus plan and you met all of the requirements to earn the bonus, the employer cannot change its mind after the fact and ask for a portion of the bonus back, because in this scenario the bonus is considered earned wages under the Arizona wage statutes. Please note that even if the employer is entitled to repayment, they cannot withhold from your wages in an amount that would take your hourly pay below the current Arizona minimum wage of $8.05 per hour.

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