·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary


What are My Rights as an Employee in Oklahoma?

— June 9, 2022

As of 2021, the minimum wage in Oklahoma is $7.25 per hour, but this does not apply to agricultural laborers and maids.

All employees in Oklahoma are protected against discrimination under state and federal law, but they enjoy fewer rights than those in other parts of the country. If you move to Oklahoma from another state, you might find this a bit confusing. When you have an issue with your employer or feel you are mistreated by some of your coworkers, you should get legal counsel from an experienced Okhlahoma employment lawyer. Most problems can be solved through negotiation and only the most serious issues ever go to court.

What are the discrimination laws in Oklahoma?

Both private and public employees are protected against any form of discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Law. It is illegal to persecute or harass employees on such grounds as race, color, sex, age, disability, religion or national origin. Discrimination is defined as any form of mistreatment, from offensive jokes or taunts to denying an employee in a protected class the promotion or pay raise they deserve. 

Oklahoma is an employment at will state, so the boss is entitled to fire you for any reason or no reason at all. However, if you feel you were fired because of a protected characteristic you should talk to an employment lawyer in Oklahoma City and file a wrongful termination complaint. 

How is sexual harassment defined in Oklahoma?

Sexual harassment falls under sex-based discrimination and is strictly prohibited. The law defines two types of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Quid pro quo cases refer to those situations where a supervisor or other employee at management level demands sexual favors from you, with the promise of a promotion or the threat of termination. Most victims of sexual harassment are women, but according to the law men can also be harassed. Same-sex harassment is also illegal. 

Hostile work environment is the legal term used for those situations when you are sexually harassed by one or several of your coworkers.

Under Oklahoma law, you should first make an internal complaint and give your employer the opportunity to address the situation. If that doesn’t happen, a skilled sexual harassment laywer can help you file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

What is the minimum wage in Oklahoma?

Waitress holding a tray
Image courtesy of Arttabel via Pixabay,

As of 2021, the minimum wage in Oklahoma is $7.25 per hour, but this does not apply to agricultural laborers and maids. Also, if most of your earnings come from tips, your employer should give you at least $3.63 per hour. The state of Oklahoma does not have a law on overtime pay, so federal regulations apply. If you work for more than 40 hrs a week, the overtime should be paid at 1.5 times your regular pay per hour. 

If you have any concerns that your employer is not paying you fairly for your overtime, schedule a consultation with an employment lawyer to see what you can do about it.

What about breaks and time off?

Unfortunately, Oklahoma employees do not have the right to meal or rest breaks, paid or unpaid, so there’s no point in complaining about that. The law only allows for bathroom breaks and that’s all.

As for sick leave and vacation time, those are not granted under current Oklahoma law, unless expressly specified in a union contract or employee agreement. However, employees in Oklahoma do have the right to a six-week medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

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