Arizona AG Mayes announces formation of workers’ rights unit

Sep 4, 2023, 4:00 PM

Mayes standing with attendee...

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes is seen with an attendee of the Arizona AFL-CIO Labor Day event on Sept. 1. (X Photo/@AZAGMayes)

(X Photo/@AZAGMayes)

PHOENIX — A dedicated worker protection unit within the Arizona Attorney General’s Office has been formed, officials announced last week.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes announced the unit Friday as she accepted an award from the Arizona AFL-CIO.

The unit will focus on protecting Arizona workers from exploitation and enforcing existing laws to promote fair competition in Arizona, according to a press release.

Mayes expressed her belief that every worker deserves competitive pay, safe workplaces and to be treated with decency and respect.

“We all know the true strength of our state comes from classrooms, construction sites, shipping yards and everywhere hardworking Arizonans are moving our economy forward,” Mayes said in the release.

“And now, workers have an advocate in the Attorney General’s Office. There is so much more our state government can do to protect workers across our state and we are going to do just that.”

The unit will work to strengthen partnerships with other state and federal agencies tasked with protecting the rights of workers, the release said.

What will the worker protection unit focus on?

The Arizona Attorney General’s office said the unit will focus on six key issues:

  • Combating deceptive practices like employer misclassification of employees as independent contractors.
  • Fighting wage theft and withholding of tips intended for workers.
  • Investigating and prosecuting tax and payroll fraud.
  • Working with other agencies to protect workers’ right to a safe work environment.
  • Challenging “no-poach” or other agreements between employers that depress wages and limit employee mobility.
  • Other issues that give an unfair advantage to companies trying to cut corners.

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Arizona AG Mayes announces formation of workers’ rights unit