Oklahoma employment law

What is an Oklahoma employer required to tell its employees about the Family and Medical Leave Act?

If you are an Oklahoma business with 50 or more employees, you have probably heard of the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). IMG_0407

If you have not heard of it, it is probably a good idea to learn a little bit about the FMLA.  Employers have obligations to tell employee certain details about the FMLA and the document below provides an outline of the details an employer (who is, of course, a covered employer under the FMLA) is required to provide to its employees:

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Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Oklahoma Employment Law

How does Oklahoma law protect an employee’s social media accounts?

Social media has existed long enough to become common in our lives. 

Although it not the only way to use social media, public broadcasting and interaction is the norm for many people (as opposed to say protecting your Twitter account from public consumption).  It is quick and simple for one to broadcast any thought, feeling, question, rant or tangent into publicly-occupied cyberspace.  With the ubiquity of social media, Oklahoma employer and employees are likely to encounter “issues” from the use of social media.    Recognizing this reality, in 2014 the Oklahoma legislature enacted a law to address employer actions regarding personal social media accounts.  The statute is titled § 173.2. Prohibited actions regarding personal social media accounts–Exemptions–

Below are some of the actions that an Oklahoma employer is prohibited from taking related to employees’ social media accounts:

1. Require an employee or prospective employee to disclose a user name and password or other means of authentication for accessing a personal online social media account through an electronic communications device;
2. Require an employee or prospective employee to access the employee’s or prospective employee’s personal online social media account in the presence of the employer in a manner that enables the employer to observe the contents of such accounts if the account’s contents are not available to the general public, except pursuant to an investigation as provided in subsection D of this act;
3. Take retaliatory personnel action that materially and negatively affects the terms and conditions of employment against an employee solely for refusal to give the employer the user name or password to the employee’s personal online social media account; or
4. Refuse to hire a prospective employee solely as a result of the prospective employee’s refusal to give the employer the user name and password to the prospective employee’s personal online social media account.

You can find the Oklahoma Statute here. As always there are exceptions and qualifications, so if questions arise for you, please feel free to reach out to me.

 

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Oklahoma Employment Law

When can an Oklahoma employer deduct from an employee’s paycheck?

An employee’s paycheck is semi-sacred and rightfully so because it is the sole source of income for most people in Oklahoma.

The sacrosanct nature of the paycheck means that it cannot be withheld or deducted from except in certain circumstances.  Generally, an Oklahoma employer cannot deduct from or withhold out of an Oklahoma employee’s paycheck unless:

  • The deduction is permitted by state or federal law (taxes, unemployment compensation, etc. . .), or
  • The employer and employee have agreed in a written document that is signed by parties and only in these circumstances:
    • repay a loan or advance or to recover a payroll overpayment,
    • for the cost of merchandise purchased by the employee,
    • uniforms,
    • insurance premiums,
    • retirement or other investment plans,
    • for breakage or loss of merchandise, inventory shortage, or cash shortage so long as the employee was the sole party responsible for the cash shortage or item damaged or lost.

This material came out of the Oklahoma Administrative Code Section 380:30-1-7 and with the assistance of this website.

This is a general summary of allowable withholdings from paychecks of Oklahoma employees.  For assistance with a specific matter, please feel free to reach out to me.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Oklahoma Employment Law

Oklahoma Business Law: When is an employer required to pay for overtime?

If you are a business owner or someone in a position of authority with a business, do you know if your business required to pay overtime to employees?

You might be surprised by the answer, read on to find out.

For Oklahoma employers covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the FLSA controls the payment of overtime.  Here are the basic requirements your business must meet to required to pay overtime pay:
  • The business must be covered by the FLSA.  Consider this blog post to answer the question of whether your business covered by the FLSA.
  • The employee must not be an exempt employee to qualify for overtime pay.  Consider this post for the type of employees who might be exempt from the FLSA.
  • The employee must work more than 40 hours in one work week. 

 

What is the work week? I have seen some uncertainty about this from employers.  According to the United States Department of Labor:

The Act applies on a workweek basis. An employee’s workweek is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours — seven consecutive 24-hour periods. It need not coincide with the calendar week, but may begin on any day and at any hour of the day. Different workweeks may be established for different employees or groups of employees. Averaging of hours over two or more weeks is not permitted. Normally, overtime pay earned in a particular workweek must be paid on the regular pay day for the pay period in which the wages were earned.

 

To summarize:  All nonexempt employees of an FLSA-covered employer must be paid at a time and a half for all hours worked over 40 in the same work week.


Discouraging fact provided by the Tulsa World:

Oklahoma Minimum Wage

Oklahoma Minimum Wage

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Business Law, Oklahoma Employment Law

4 things to do after terminating an employee

Are you an employer?  Have you ever terminated an employee or had an employee leave?

If the answer is “yes”, consider this checklist of things to do after terminating an employee:

1⃣.  Pay the final paycheck.  Oklahoma law requires an employee to pay the final paycheck by the date that paychecks would have regularly been paid.  There are substantial penalties if the check is not paid.  No offsets or deductions are allowed from the paycheck unless the employee has agreed in writing to them.

2⃣.  Recover company-owned property.  If the employee has a car, a phone, tools or other equipment, be certain to plan for the return of it prior to the employee’s final departure.

3⃣.  Eliminate security access.  If the employee has access to password-protected websites or any confidential company information, cut-off the employee’s access to reduce the risk of the unauthorized capture of information.

4⃣.  Remove employee as the point of contact.  Often, one employee is the point of contact for goods and services used and purchased by the company.  The vendors that provide these goods and services are familiar with the employee.  Upon the employee’s departure, contact the vendors and make arrangement for a new point of contact.  Sometimes this may require something in writing from the company to the vendor.

Are there other issues you have seen that need to be addressed when an employee leaves?


Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Business Law, Oklahoma Employment Law

When does an Oklahoma employer have to pay a terminated employee his final paycheck?

Amtrak employee checks with the station at the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal, May 1974

Your employment is over, terminated or quit, and now one of the questions on most people’s minds is: When do I get my final paycheck?

Under Oklahoma law, regardless of the reason for termination, an employer is required to pay the employee’s final wages in full, less any legal authorized offsets, at the next regular designated payday established for the pay period in which the work was performed either through the regular pay channels or by certified mail postmarked within the deadlines specified by law if requested by the employee.

There are substantial penalties for failing to pay wages even if you [the employer] believe you have a stellar reason for non-payment.  There are a few circumstances where a “bonafide disagreement” over what is due could relieve an employer from being penalized for failure to pay.

If you [the employer] think you have one of those rare, limited circumstances, consult an attorney.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Business Law, Oklahoma Employment Law

Explaining Federal Employment Law – The Series

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I usually cover legal topics that I see in my practice, particularly if they are common issues small businesses confront. One of those of areas is federal employment law. You might recognize the area more rapidly through terms such as “sexual harassment” racial discrimination” or “wrongful termination.” All of these issue emenate from federal employment law, laws created in Washington, D.C. but applicable to many employers throughout the United States.

What businesses are covered by federal employment law? What types of things are prohibited under federal employment law? What can a business do to eliminate risks of violating federal employment law? Find out the answers to these questions and more by reading the series “Explaining Federal Employment Law”.

What is Federal Employment Law?

What areas are covered by Federal Employment Law?

Is your business covered by federal employment law?

What steps can employers take to protect themselves from employment law claims?

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Oklahoma Employment Law
Is your business covered by federal employment law?

Is your business covered by federal employment law?

In Friday’s post, I covered what types of conduct are regulated or prohibited by Federal Employment Law. The focus today is a critical one:

What Oklahoma employers are covered by Federal Employment Law?

Most employers with at least 15 full-time employees are covered by EEOC laws (20 employees for the age discrimination statute). Most labor unions and employment agencies are also covered.

What Oklahoma employers covered by Oklahoma law?

Yet, be cautious because if your business is not covered by federal employment statutes, there may be a state statute that covers you.  For example, in Oklahoma, the Discrimination Act prohibits a business of any size from discriminating against an employee based on an employee’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, genetic information or disability.  There are several types of businesses that are exempt from the Discrimination Act including a religious corporation, association, or society, Native American tribes or a bona fide membership clubs that are exempt from taxation under Internal Revenue Service Law.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Business Law, Oklahoma Employment Law