Oklahoma employment law, like many other states, have protection against discrimination in the workplace. But like those other states they have additional protections for certain additional categories. Just to clarify, Oklahoma prohibits the discrimination of those forty or older, for national origin or ancestry, for physical or mental disabilities, for gender, for race, for religion, for genetic testing information, for military service, and for a smoker or non-smoker. As you can see, this list is quite extensive and may be considered easy to violate if you don't treat everyone with respect. At some point we will all fall into one of those categories!
Even hints at discrimination can be a violation such as making certain types of statements that could be understood the wrong way. Making a statement such as, “We need a stronger workforce”, could be understood as needing more males. This followed up with hiring more male employees, may land you in trouble. Employers for the most part can hire the applicant that they wish, provided they do not violate Oklahoma employment law in the process, i.e., discriminating against someone for any of the categories mentioned above!
Under the Oklahoma employment law even placing certain conditions on an applicant could be mistakenly seen as discrimination. For instance if you placed a working condition that someone had to weigh a certain amount based on their height it may be seen as discriminating against the female population. Something else that an employer may do that may be considered a discriminatory practice would be to only advertise in places that one segment of the population may look at. Let's say that you only advertise in a Baptist Church and hold a government contract. This will get you in trouble!
Oklahoma employment law dictates when you must pay someone that you either terminate, or that quits voluntarily. In both cases an employer has until the following payday to issue them a paycheck. This is very liberal considering that states like California require you to issue a paycheck (or pay in cash) at the time of termination for an employee being discharged. On the other hand, if an employer offers vacation pay, they must issue a paycheck (or pay in cash) to the employee for anytime accrued. This is one of the most questioned things when an employee leaves the company. This is why it is so very important to make sure how an employee accrues vacation time is spelled out in the employee handbook. Most employee handbook software programs do a very good job of offering language that helps.
Most states allow some time for employees to go and vote during local or national elections. Oklahoma employment law is no different. In Oklahoma the law permits an employee up to two hours of unpaid time to go and vote. However, the employer can determine when that will occur so that it does not disrupt the business. The employer can also adjust an employee's schedule so that it will allow them time either before or after their shift begins or ends. As an example, if an employee's shift begins or ends at least three hours before or after the polls open or close the employer is not required to provide time off.
The Oklahoma employment law does not provide for any additional requirements to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act regarding overtime rules. It is a good idea that you have a poster in an area that employees have access to. In fact, it is a requirement if you have a certain number of employees. I would also refer to this provision in your employee handbook. In fact, most employee handbook software program providers will offer the federally required posters so that you will be in compliance with the state and federal employment law. The reputable companies offering employee handbook software programs will also notify and update laws as they change which is a huge benefit.
Please understand that Oklahoma employment law, and other employment laws change frequently and I can't stress enough that you must consult with a legal professional such as an employment attorney for specific language, interpretations, and requirements for your specific state like Oklahoma. What is published today could be changed tomorrow by a simple court ruling or a legislative body casting a vote.
Thank you and May God Bless you!