The Law Office of Bethany L. Jacobs, PLLC
(602) 770-1069

Employment Law 

Frequently Asked Questions

What should be contained in an employee/independent contractor agreement?

If you have hired a new employee or independent contractor recently for your business you cannot forget to document your expectations!  A clear agreement between you and the individual will prevent so many potential problems down the road.  Some of the many items you should consider documenting include:

  • Job responsibilities
  • Pay provisions
  • Term
  • Employment-at-will explanation
  • Confidentiality provisions
  • Time commitment expectation/moonlighting clause
  • Dress policy
  • Time off provisions
  • Drug and alcohol prohibitions
  • Driving rules
  • Non-compete clause
  • Governing law and how disputes will be addressed

What is the basis to deny an unemployment claim?

When an employee commits misconduct connected with his or her employment or willful or negligent misconduct, this may be a basis to deny an unemployment claim--saving the employer a lot of money in unemployment benefits.  Misconduct connected with the employment means any act or omission by an employee which is a material or substantial breach of the employee's duties or obligations.  Willful or negligent misconduct includes repeated intoxication, repeated absences from work where warnings have been received, failure to pass or take a drug/alcohol test, refusal or knowing failure to perform reasonable and proper duties assigned, etc.  Regardless the type of misconduct, it is important that all misconduct, even the first offense be documented.  For more information regarding unemployment claims, contact me to discuss or see A.R.S. § 23-619.01.

What is the definition of "Sexual Harassment"?

The EEOC has defined sexual harassment as follows:

"Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature . . . when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term of an individual's employment, (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment."  For more information regarding sexual harassment, contact me to discuss or see the EEOC Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Sex, 29 C.F.R. § 1604.11(a). 

Why does an employer need a sexual harassment policy?

An employer's sexual harassment policy is an affirmative defense against any future sexual harassment lawsuits.  An employee's claim of sexually hostile work environment can been dismissed when it is shown that the employee unreasonably failed to use the preventative and corrective measures offered by their employer's sexual harassment policy.  Therefore, it is imperative that employer's have a written sexual harassment policy with a clear complaint process for employees to utilize.  For more information regarding sexual harassment policies, please contact me or see Thornton v. Federal Express Corp.

What is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?


An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is an employee benefit program that is usually prepaid by the employer and free to the employee and their household members.  EAPs are usually managed by third parties, who have a duty of confidentiality.  EAPs may provide many different ways to help an employee with his or her personal issues.  They can include free legal services, financial planning, and counseling (grief, marriage, occupational stress, substance abuse, emotional distress, wellness, etc.).  Studies show EAPs result in many benefits to the employer, including lower medical costs, reduced turnover, reduced absenteeism, and higher employee productivity.  Individuals should consider utilizing their (or their spouses’) EAP.  Companies should consider offering an EAP at the workplace.

This is general information only.  Nothing contained herein is intended to be formal legal advice, nor should it be construed as the formation of an attorney-client relationship.