Various Arizona statutes require that employees be paid in a timely manner, usually within a couple of weeks from when work was performed, and sometimes sooner if the employee's employement has been terminated. Title 23, Article 7 of the Arizona Revised Statutes governs the payment of wages to Arizona employees. A.R.S. § 23-355 addresses the pursuit of a civil legal claim to recover wages that are not paid in accord with Arizona law:
A. Except as provided in subsection B of this section, if an employer, in violation of this chapter, fails to pay wages due any employee, the employee may recover in a civil action against an employer or former employer an amount that is treble the amount of the unpaid wages.
B. This section does not authorize a county school superintendent to issue a warrant in violation of section 15-304 or in violation of any other provision of law.
While this section clearly authorizes a civil action to recover unpaid wages and allows for the recovery of treble damage, Arizona courts have clarified that the treble damage penalty is not mandatory. Indeed, the courts have found that if the employer acted reasonably and in good faith with regard to the amount of wages owed, treble damages should not be awarded. Because the award of treble damages is discretionary, employees should recognize that slight violations of the governing statutes may not cause a court to award such damages.
If you are owed wages by an employer that have not been timely paid for any reason, you should contact an Arizona employment attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options.