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Fired state workers call to appeal terminations

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Fired state workers who want their terminations reviewed are calling the state Department of Administration after Gov. Doug Ducey pledged to allow employees who felt they were wrongly terminated to appeal the decision.

As of Monday, the Department of Administration’s human-resources office has received 71 phone calls from former state employees appealing their terminations since Ducey announced the appeal process on Friday, The Arizona Republic reported (http://bit.ly/2dZlkFN).

The pledge comes after it was reported that more than 1,500 state employees have been involuntarily terminated since January 2015, when Ducey took office. Under Ducey’s predecessor, Gov. Jan Brewer, there were 551 terminations in 2013 and 547 in 2014 for a total of 1,098 in an equal time period.

The Republic found that 64 percent of those terminated were 40 or older, a protected class of employee under federal labor laws because they are nearing retirement age. Other employees who were fired were considered “at will” workers, meaning they aren’t covered and could be fired without cause. A 2012 law changed what workers were considered “at will,” greatly increasing the number of state employees eligible to be fired without cause.

Ducey’s spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said all appeals will be considered on a case-by-case basis and that there is no guarantee anyone will get their job back.

“We are reviewing these issues,” he said, “and that is where we are at at this point.”

One former worker who appealed on Monday, Estella Lugo, said she was asked for the dates when she was fired and the name of her supervisor. The former Department of Economic Security worker was asked to submit additional details in an email.

“I want my pay back,” said Lugo, who was battling breast cancer when she was fired last year. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”

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2 comments

  1. The question is breast cancer considered a protected disability under federal law? Ms Lugo, you need to find out. As a result of changes made by the ADAAA, people who currently have cancer, or have cancer that is in remission, should easily be found to have a disability within the meaning of the first part of the ADA’s definition of disability because they are substantially limited in the major life activity of normal cell growth or would be so limited if cancer currently in remission was to recur. Similarly, individuals with a history of cancer will be covered under the second part of the definition of disability because they will have a record of an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity in the past. Finally, an individual is covered under the third (“regarded as”) prong of the definition of disability if an employer takes a prohibited action (for example, refuses to hire or terminates the individual) because of cancer or because the employer believes the individual has cancer. Might wish to consult EEO and an attorney.

  2. I really think everyone should join Arizona Corrections Association when you get wrongfully terminated. Included in the member dues are benefits like the Legal Defense fund and afford you with Attorneys that will help you. The problem is people do not join a Labor organization or union and then they get fired and they dont get legal representation. Our ACA has so many benefits it really pays for itself , included in the dues are Life insurance on or off duty from work. http://correctionsassociation.org/

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