March 26, 2019

Thanks to the Right to Earn a Living Act developed by the Goldwater Institute, Arizona job-seekers enjoy some of the greatest protections from arbitrary occupational licensing restrictions in the country. Under that law, if the government wants to restrict a person’s right to earn an honest living, the burden is on the government, not the job-seeker, to prove that the restriction is appropriate. But some job-seekers do not know their rights and may be prevented from working in the job of their choice because of it.  Now, employees and job-seekers are guaranteed to have a better sense of what their rights are under that law.

Governor Doug Ducey has signed legislation that will require state licensing boards to notify people of their right to challenge an adverse action under the state’s Right to Earn a Living Act by requiring occupational licensing boards to prominently print the protections available under the Right to Earn a Living Act on the agency’s website, as well as on license applications, and any communications either denying a license or contending that one is required to engage in an occupation. Thanks to this new law, individuals who are harmed by an agency that has denied them the right to work in their chosen occupation will know their rights under Arizona law.

In the 1950s, about one in 20 workers was required to obtain a license to do their job. Today, that number has exploded—about one in four workers now must seek government permission so they can work in their chosen field. And more often than not, licensing restrictions have nothing to do with protecting the public health or safety.   

Passed in 2017, Arizona’s Right to Earn a Living Act protects people’s ability to work in the job of their choice. But workers can only receive relief under it if they know their rights.

“In most professions, job-seekers shouldn’t have to seek out government permission in order to work in the field of their choice. Rather, the government should be tasked with proving that licensing requirements actually protect the public before restricting a person’s right to earn a living,” Goldwater Institute Director of National Litigation Jon Riches said. “Arizona’s Right to Earn a Living Act puts that burden of proof where it should be: on the government. And now, Arizonans can be sure that they will know their rights under this law and be better able to work in the field of their choice when their rights have been denied.”

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