It’s important to stay up to date on all of the employment laws in your state so that you can maintain compliance in your business. We did some of the hard work for you and put some of the most important Oklahoma statutes in one place so you can either learn them for the first time or give yourself a refresher.
However, remember that our summary is not qualified legal advice, laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality.
It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area. Consult with a qualified lawyer and/or your local government agencies if you have questions or concerns.
Here are a few Oklahoma labor laws every small business owner should know.
First, here are a few helpful links and resources for you to bookmark and refer back to:
- Sick Days: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid sick leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one.
- Medical Leave: Employers may be required to provide leave in accordance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
- Vacation Leave: Employers are not required to provide vacation leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one.
- Employers may deny the payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment, but if they establish a policy that says they will pay it out, they must comply with the contract.
- Employers may establish a policy that disqualifies employees from payment of accrued vacation if they fail to meet specific guidelines, such as giving two weeks notice.
- The amount of vacation time an employee can accrue may be capped by the employer.
- Employers can implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy that requires employees to use their vacation time by a set date, as long as employees have reasonable time to use their vacation time.
- Jury Duty: Employers do not have to pay employees for time spent responding to a jury summons.
- Employers may not penalize employees for responding to a jury summons.
- Employers may not require employees to use any available leave for responding to a jury summons.
- Holiday Leave: Private employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid holiday leave, but must comply with any established policies if they choose to implement them.
- Voting Leave: Employees are to receive 2 hours of time off to vote if they do not have 3 hours before or after their shift.
- If the employee provides proof that they voted, the time off must be paid.
- Employers can dictate when the employee takes time off to vote.
- Bereavement Leave: Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave, but may be required to comply with any bereavement policy they may have.
Employers must pay employees who have separated from their employment for any reason (including being discharged/suspended/laid off or resigning) their final paycheck by the next scheduled payday.
- Oklahoma sets its minimum wage to be the same as the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25.
- Employers who have less than 10 employees or earn less than $100,000 of business annually are exempt from complying with the minimum wage rate.
- Employers must pay their nonexempt employees at least semimonthly on regular paydays the employer chooses in advance. They may pay exempt employees as well as state, county, and municipal employees monthly.
- The payday must be within 11 days of the end of the pay period.
- Each pay period, employers must provide employees with a statement of deductions from their pay.
- The current minimum wage for tipped employees is $3.63 and is set to be half of the standard minimum wage rate.
- Employers must ensure their tipped employees are also paid the standard minimum wage rate when their tips are combined with their wages.
- Minors 14 and 15 years of age may only work within the following hours:
- While school is in session
- A maximum of 18 hours a week
- A maximum of 3 hours a day
- Between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
- While school is out of session
- A maximum of 40 hours a week
- A maximum of 8 hours a day
- Between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.
- While school is in session
- There are no time restrictions for minors 16 and 17 years of age.
- Minors 14 and 15 years of age are required to receive a 1-hour break for every 8 hours worked or a 30-minute break for every 5 hours worked.
The State of Oklahoma requires that employers post the following notices in a prominent location:
- Notice to Workers (regarding unemployment insurance)
- State Minimum Wage
- Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Notice
- Oklahoma Law Prohibits Discrimination in Employment
- No-smoking signs
- Background Checks: Employers who run background checks should ensure they’re following the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which are available here.
- Credit and Investigative Checks: Employers may not obtain a credit report on an applicant or employee unless they comply with the following requirements:
- Give the applicant or employee written notice that they will request a credit report and may use it for employment purposes
- Include a box on the written notice for the applicant or employee to check if they want to receive a copy of their credit report
- If the applicant or employee requests a copy of their credit report, ask the credit reporting agency to provide it to them when they request the report
- Pay for the credit report without charging the applicant or employee
- Arrest and Conviction Checks: Employers are prohibited from asking applicants about sealed arrest records, or certain “non-serious offenses,” or from taking adverse action because an applicant refused to provide information about a sealed record.
- Applicants do not need to provide information about sealed records and may answer in the negative to questions about arrests or convictions if the applicable records are sealed.
- Mandatory Background Checks: Oklahoma requires that employers conduct background checks on the following types of employees:
- Childcare facility personnel
- Those providing personal care to people on Medicare or Medicaid
Drug and Alcohol Testing
- At least ten days before conducting any drug or alcohol testing, an employer must provide their employees or applicants with a copy of their written policy that has the specifics of their testing program.
- An employer can only require testing under the following circumstances:
- Hiring or transferring an employee
- If the employer reasonably believes that the employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- After a workplace accident that resulted in an injury or property damage
- Randomly as long as all employees in the same classification or group are tested
- Routinely scheduled as part of the employer’s policy
- For up to two years after the employee completes a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program
- Employers must pay their employees for their time spent taking a drug or alcohol test and must cover the costs of the test.
- If the employee disputes a positive test, the employer may require that the employee pay for a second test; however, the employer must pay for the second test if it comes back negative.
Meal and Rest Breaks, Overtime
- There are no Oklahoma laws regarding overtime, so federal laws apply.
- The federal overtime rule stipulates that the minimum salary requirement for administrative, professional, and executive exemptions is $684 per week, or $35,568 per year.
- The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that non-exempt employees be paid 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
- Besides the aforementioned law regarding minors under the age of 16, Oklahoma has no laws regarding breaks or meal times, so the federal law applies.
- Under federal law, employers are not required to provide meal periods or breaks, but if they do, breaks less than 20 minutes must be paid.
- Meal periods, usually 30 minutes or longer, do not need to be paid if the employee is free to do as they wish during the break.
- Federal law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of:
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
- National origin
- Genetic information, including family medical history
- Physical or mental disability
- Child or spousal support withholding
- Military or veteran status
- Citizenship and/or immigration status
- Additionally, Oklahoma law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of:
- Being a smoker or non-smoker, or off-duty tobacco use
- Arrest records
- Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.
Oklahoma is an employment-at-will state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory and that the employer is not retaliating against the employee for a rightful action.
Courts in Oklahoma have recognized public policy arguments in the past. This means that an employee who is discriminated against or terminated for doing something in the interest of the public—such as reporting violations of law or dangerous working conditions—may be able to overcome the employer’s argument that employment was at-will.
- COBRA is a federal law that allows many employees to continue their health insurance benefits after their employment ends. Because federal COBRA only applies to employers that have 20 or more employees, many states have adopted their own versions of the law, which are known as “mini-COBRAs.”
- Oklahoma’s mini-COBRA allows employees to continue their coverage for up to 63 days. We recommend that employers inform their insurer of an employee’s triggering event as soon as it occurs.
There are no laws regarding shift scheduling in Oklahoma.
An Oklahoma employer may not:
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Employers may not discriminate against an applicant or employee solely on the basis of their status as a medical marijuana cardholder.
- Employers may not refuse to hire an applicant or discipline an employee based solely on a positive drug test unless the applicant or employee doesn’t have a valid medical cannabis license; the employee has, uses, or is under the influence of marijuana at or during work; or the position is safety sensitive. In addition, Oklahoma law does not limit an employer’s ability to comply with federal law or obtain federal funding.