New Arizona law spells out employees’ victim leave rights

by Jodi R. Bohr

An amendment to Arizona’s law addressing leave rights for victims of juvenile offenses goes into effect on July 24, making the law on juvenile offenses mirror the law addressing leave rights for victims of criminal offenses.

During its second regular session, the 51st Arizona Legislature amended Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 8-420 regarding a crime victim’s right to take leave from work. Arizona has two statutes that address leave rights for victims of criminal and juvenile offenses at A.R.S. § 13-4439 and § 8-420, respectively. When the amendment to § 8-420 becomes effective, the statutes will match regarding the rights granted to employees.

The statutes apply to employers with 50 or more employees and require them to permit employees who are victims of a crime or juvenile offense (as enumerated in the statutes) to leave work to exercise their rights to be present at the court proceedings or to seek and obtain an order of protection or injunction against harassment.

An employer may not dismiss or penalize employees who are victims of a crime because they choose to exercise their rights to take leave. Also, an employer may not discriminate against employees in compensation, conditions, or privileges of employment based on their exercise of victim leave rights. Employees who are absent from work under the statutes may not lose seniority or precedence. Employers must keep confidential records of employees’ victim leave.

An employer isn’t required to compensate an employee exercising leave rights, but the employer may require the employee to use accrued paid leave. Similarly, employees may elect to use accrued paid leave during their absence. An employer may limit the amount of victim leave granted to an employee only if the requested leave would create an undue hardship on the business.

To be eligible for victim leave, an employee must (1) inform his employer of the victim leave request, (2) provide the employer with a copy of the law enforcement paperwork relating to the crime or proceedings or any other proper documentation, and (3) if applicable, give the employer a copy of the notice of the scheduled court proceedings.

For more information on Arizona’s victim leave laws, see the July issue of Arizona Employment Law Letter.

Jodi R. Bohr is of counsel with Gallagher & Kennedy, PA in Phoenix, Arizona. She can be reached at