Tag Archives: arizona law


Uber, Lyft get a lift from new Arizona law

Soon after his election, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey made a drastic decision to pledge his support to ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft by suspending the ongoing investigation into companies that were operating illegally under current Arizona law.

In addition, the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures announced that it would no longer be enforcing the same rules Arizona cab drivers are legally forced to follow.

Under debate is HB 2135, which outlines specific insurance guidelines separate from those of taxicab companies and ride-sharecompanies. Although this was great news for Uber and Lyft, there were many people up in arms working hard to fight against the bill, chiefly sponsored by Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott.

The bill, which Ducey signed into law April 9, is intended to even the playing field for taxicab companies and ride-share companies.

Despite Fann’s protests, the legislature is considering regulating both ride-sharing companies and taxicab companies and setting fair minimum insurance rules.

The new rules also include vehicle inspections, driver background checks and a zero-tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use by drivers.

Arizona State University student Tim McGavock speculates on the bills final outcome.

It makes sense that a Republican such as Ducey, who was previously the CEO of Cold Stone would be advocating for a company that started as nothing and has been built into such a large corporation.

Tempe cab driver Clyde Riley is vocal in his opposition to the original bill.

I am trying to get several drivers together to fight this,Riley said. You cant have a law and only enforce it for half of the people.

Riley said Uber and Lyft have all but destroyed his business and all of the taxi businesses around Tempe. Then-Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a similar bill last year.

I dont know why our governor would do this to us, it is clear discrimination when our laws allow for certain companies to skate the rules, but not others,Riley added. To me it is the same thing as allowing only specific groups of people to shoplift. It just isnt right.

Riley said he feels that if Ducey really wants to change the insurance laws for vehicle transportation companies, then the law should apply to all parties. He argues that because they are essentially doing the same job and are fighting for the same customers, the rules should be equal across the board.

If they aren’tt going to let us take the stickers off of our car and do ride-share, then they shouldn’tt be making the exception for these two companies,Riley said.

Uber has boomed across the country in the past several years and now rivals almost all taxicab companies. With more than 160,000 drivers in 250 cities, Uber is no longer a small entrepreneurialcompany. Students everywhere are choosing to call a Lyft or Uber on their downloadable cellphone apps instead of calling for a cab.

I love Uber way more than taking a cab since it is much cheaper.,said ASU student Courtney Langfield. I also like having the convenience of knowing where they are located at all times and when they will arrive. I also like how you have record of who your Uber driver is in case something was to happen. I feel a lot safer in an Uber (ride) than in a cab.

I used to get over 400 calls a week,Riley said, now I am lucky if I get seven.

Riley has had to lay off his fellow driver and can barely afford a rented vehicle. He has been driving in Tempe for 26 years and now is close to being forced out of a job.

The problem with Uber and companies like it [under the original bill] is that they arent legally obligated to pay the same insurance fees that cab companies do, Riley said.

I would love to lower my rates,he said. Ive given quite a few people rides when they didn’tt have money at all. But unfortunately, I need enough money to operate.

Workers' compensation laws for injured employees/employers

Workers’ Compensation Laws Provide Protection For Employers And Employees

Workers’ compensation insurance is like an old sweater — it’s there when you need it, but you may not think about it much until that time comes. However, it’s not a bad idea to pull it out every now and then to make sure it still fits.

Here are some points to keep in mind as you look in the mirror.
Workers’ compensation laws in Arizona are designed to protect both the employer and the employee when the latter is injured on the job. The most important thing to know about workers’ compensation in Arizona is that insurance is mandatory for every business — public and private — that has one or more employees.

It also is important to understand that workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system, meaning that insurance benefits generally are made available no matter who is to blame for the employee’s injury. Injured employees are entitled to full-medical benefits and lost-wage compensation while they are unable to work, with no cost or time limits. Job retraining benefits are sometimes provided, as well.

Although workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory for employers, Arizona law allows an individual employee to opt out of the system.

Those who choose to remain covered by an employer’s insurance — and the vast majority of workers do — generally give up the right to sue their employer or co-workers for their injury in exchange for the security of receiving insurance benefits as provided by workers’ compensation laws.

Those who opt out retain the power to sue their employer for damages resulting from on-the-job injuries. However, they are required to prove negligence, which can be a difficult task.

Arizona businesses have three options for obtaining workers’ compensation insurance: they can purchase coverage through a private insurance carrier, they can self-insure or they can be part of a competitive state fund, such as the privately operated State Compensation Fund, or SCF.

Small businesses also may have the option of joining with others in related fields to purchase a group insurance plan.

The most important thing to keep in mind if an employee is injured on the job is that a claim with the workers’ compensation insurer must be filed as soon after the incident as possible. Thus, employees should be trained to notify their supervisors as soon as they are injured to ensure timely claims reporting.

Workers suffering temporary or permanent total disability receive payments determined by a percentage of their wages with a maximum weekly pay out. Benefits continue for as long as the employee is disabled. In the event of an on-the-job death, benefits based on a percentage of the worker’s wages are paid to his or her survivors.

Although workers’ compensation laws are designed to curtail lawsuits, there are situations where employers or insurance carriers may face legal action by an employee and will require legal counsel.

The most obvious case of liability exposure is when an employer fails to carry workers’ compensation insurance and a worker is injured on the job.

Another legally hazardous situation is when there are multiple employers on a single job site. A construction site is a good example of this, as is an office setting with an independently operated print shop or snack bar. If a person employed by one company is injured by an employee of another company, the injured worker may be allowed to sue the company that does not employ him or her for damages. An employer is only protected against suit by its own employee, not someone else’s employee. Therefore, it is important to make sure the work site is as safe and hazard-free as possible to prevent on-the-job injuries.

Those who opt out retain the power to sue their employer for damages resulting from on-the-job injuries. However, they are required to prove negligence, which can be a difficult task.

Finally, when a workers’ compensation claim is denied and the employee appeals, the case works its way through the Industrial Commission of Arizona and, eventually, into the courthouse. At that stage, we recommend the employer seek assistance from an employment law specialist.

Thankfully, most of the time, the system runs as it should, the old sweater still fits, and it stays on the shelf, waiting for that rare bad-weather day.

Greg Coulter and Steve Biddle are shareholders in the Phoenix office of Littler Mendelson, an employment and labor law firm representing management. They can be reached at (602) 474-3600, or GCoulter@littler.com or SBiddle@littler.com