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Arizona Whistleblower Laws

Most states have laws that prohibit retaliation against employees (which may include termination or demotion) who report dangerous, unethical, or otherwise unsavory acts by the employer. The laws hold that those employees may not face discipline by their employer for disclosing information of a public concern that exposes illegal or unethical activities. These so-called "whistleblower" laws protect employees who otherwise might not step forward with important information. Unlike some other states, Arizona whistleblower laws apply to employees of both public and private employers.

Brief History of Arizona's Whistleblower Law

In the mid-1980s, the Arizona Legislature enacted a whistleblower law to protect public employees who work in the following areas:

  • State employees
  • Any state departments, commissions, agencies or boards
  • Employees and officers of community college districts, school districts and counties of this state.

Arizona law has since expanded to cover private sector employees, as well.

Learn more about Arizona's whistleblower laws in the following table. See Whistleblower Retaliation Could Land You in Trouble for more details.

Code Section 23-425 & 23-418
Prohibited Employer Activity Can not discharge or discriminate if employee files a complaint, institutes a proceeding, or testifies regarding a violation of health or safety statutes
Protection for Public or Private Employees? Both
Opportunity for Employer to Correct? -
Remedies May file a complaint with commissioner within 30 days of violation for reinstatement, back pay, and other appropriate relief
Penalties If willful or repeated violating: maximum $7,000 for each violation; minimum $5,000 for each violation


Code Section 38-531 to 38-534
Prohibited Employer Activity An employee who has control over personnel actions can not take reprisal against an employee for disclosure of information to public body on violation of any law or mismanagement, waste of funds, or abuse of authority
Protection for Public or Private Employees? Public
Opportunity for Employer to Correct? -
Remedies May recover, under civil action, attorney's fees, costs, back pay, general and special damages and full reinstatement or injunctive relief; may make a complaint to appropriate independent personnel board, school district governing board, or community college governing board of discharged for disclosing; excludes state university or boards of regents which have a rule or provision for protecting employees at time personnel action is taken; employee can appeal final administrative decision or get trial de novo in superior court
Penalties Civil penalty, maximum $5,000

Note: What constitutes a "whistleblower," depends on the particular facts of the case. If you believe that you have been fired or mistreated because you blew the whistle on your employer, or if you are an employer being accused of firing a whistleblower, we encourage you to contact an employment law attorney today to schedule a consultation. Arizona employment laws are constantly changing -- contact an Arizona employment law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Arizona Whistleblower Laws Related Resources:

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