For those employees who did not dutifully fill out their
early voting ballot, the question companies often ask is: Do
companies/employers have to give their employees time off to vote?
The answer: Look to the applicable state law. In
A.R.S. § 16-402 provides that, an employee is
entitled to time off to vote if there are less than three consecutive hours
between the opening of the polls and the beginning of the employee's regular
workshift or between the end of the employee's regular workshift and the
closing of the polls. In such event, the employee may absent
himself/herself for such length of time at the beginning or end of his/her
workshift that, when added to the time difference between workshift hours and
opening or closing of polls, will provide a total of three consecutive hours.
Employees must request time off to vote prior to the day of the election, the
company may specify the hours during which the employee may be absent, and the
company cannot penalize an employee for taking such an absence or make any
deductions from their usual salary or wages.
16-402. Absence from employment for purpose of voting;
application therefor; violation; classification
A. A person entitled to vote at a primary or general
election held within this state may, on the day of election, absent himself for
the purpose of voting from the service or employment at which he is employed if
there are less than three consecutive hours between the opening of the polls
and the beginning of his regular workshift or between the end of his regular
workshift and the closing of the polls. In such event, he may absent himself
for such length of time at the beginning or end of his workshift that, when
added to the time difference between workshift hours and opening or closing of
the polls, will provide a total of three consecutive hours. He shall not,
because of such absence, be liable for any penalty, nor shall any deduction be
made therefor from his usual salary or wages. Application shall be made for
such absence prior to the day of election, and the employer may specify the
hours during which the employee may absent himself.
B. A person who refuses an employee the right conferred by
this section, or who subjects an employee to a penalty or reduction of wages
therefor, or who directly or indirectly violates the provisions of this
section, is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.
Yes, you read that last section correctly. Apparently
violating the above referenced statute is a Class 2 misdemeanor. I will be the
first to admit that I don't know much about criminal law. Aside from an
internship in college with a police department tactical crime analysis unit, my
legal studies have focused on everything but criminal law. So,
being a little curious I decided to figure out - what sort of penalty is
imposed for a Class 2 misdemeanor in Arizona?
According to the AZ 2012 sentencing chart, a conviction for a Class 2
misdemeanor could result in up to 4 months in jail, and up to a $750 fine for
an individual or $10,000 for a company/enterprise. I can only imagine how
bewildered the other inmates look when someone tries to explain to them that
they are serving time for violating the employment voting law.
Read more articles on employment law issues at Employment and the Law,
a blog by Ashley Kasarjian
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