Fired state workers call to appeal terminations

November 1, 2016 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — 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.”


Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com