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Recent Posts in Employee Rights Category

  • Is Sexual Orientation Protected from Workplace Discrimination?

    Recent laws regarding same-sex marriage rights in the country have changed many peoples’ perception of sexual orientation and equality as a whole. But despite these changes and beliefs, sexual orientation is not a protected class in the workplace. Some examples of protected classes are age, race, disability, and religion. If someone is discriminated against at work or by a potential employer due ...
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  • Big Changes Coming to Overtime Pay Laws, Including Doubled Salary Threshold

    Back in 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act set the guidelines for overtime pay for hourly and salaried workers. Since then, inflation and the cost of living have both increased significantly, but salaried overtime earnings has not. In order to bring overtime laws up to modern speeds, President Obama has recently signed a bill into law that will make large changes to the legislation. Come December ...
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  • How does unionization affect employee rights in Oklahoma?

    We have discussed several different topics in this space regarding the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers to those workers they employ. Generally, we have focused on the rights of individual workers and how the law affects them. The reasons for this are twofold: one, most people are interested in what they themselves can do if treated unfairly and two, most employees in ...
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  • Questions in Oklahoma job interviews that may be discriminatory

    This blog has discussed previously the several types of discrimination in employment that are illegal under federal and Oklahoma law. These include discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, ethnicity, age or disability. We have also touched on the fact that discrimination is illegal both in the workplace itself and in the process of deciding which employees to promote or which to hire in ...
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  • Does an Oklahoma employer have to give time off to vote?

    While national elections are still a year away, primary campaign season for both the Republican and Democratic parties is heating up. With many of the myriad of candidates in the news every day, Oklahoma residents may be beginning to contemplate how he or she may cast their ballots in the primaries next spring, the general election the following fall and local elections that take place every year. ...
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  • Can Oklahoma employees be discriminated against for unionizing?

    We have previously discussed the 'at-will' employment doctrine and how this may affect employees in Oklahoma. One group that might be exempt from the at-will rules are those working unionized jobs. Unions and union jobs provide quite a few benefits to Oklahoma workers. If you are in a workplace that has a union, there is a possibility that the union has a collective bargaining agreement with your ...
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  • What is 'reasonable accommodation' under the ADA?

    This blog has previously discussed various aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. Part of avoiding discrimination under the ADA is that employers must make "reasonable accommodations" for people with disabilities so that they can apply for and perform certain jobs. According to a government guide on the ...
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  • What happens when an Oklahoma employer violates minimum wage?

    This blog had previously discussed the Oklahoma and national minimum wages, and what steps an employee who believes he or she has been paid less than what is legally required needs to take to hold the employer responsible. But what penalties does the employer face if it is found, in fact, to have violated wage laws? The answer depends upon in which forum the enforcement action has taken place. If ...
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  • Are there exceptions to workplace discrimination law in Oklahoma?

    This blog has previously noted the discriminatory employment practices that are forbidden by federal and Oklahoma law. We have also discussed some of the methods by which employees can protect their rights under those laws. We have also touched on the fact that some exceptions exist, such as for parents employing their children. Beyond these topics, it may be important to note that Oklahoma also ...
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  • Can an Oklahoma employer require direct deposit for wages?

    The proliferation of technology seems to be constantly accelerating. Only 20 years ago, the nascent internet was almost exclusively the refuge of academic institutions and technology enthusiasts. Now, practically every segment of the population has some sort of online presence, even if it's only to receive and send e-mail. Similarly, in bygone years, it was the norm that employees would receive ...
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  • Court in Oklahoma denies summary judgment in employment case

    A case before a federal court in Oklahoma dealing with a college professor's claims of employment discrimination and retaliation will go forward towards trial. The court recently denied the university's motion for summary judgment in the employment law case. The case reveals some reasons employers need to have solid social media policies in place for their employees. The case is a result of the ...
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  • Some preparation can help Oklahoma employers avoid litigation

    As an employer in Oklahoma, you know that your interests and your employees' interests often coincide. After all, you need their help to keep the business running, and they need the company to do well so they can remain employed and possibly advance in position and wage. Unfortunately, there are times that conflicts arise between management and labor, and sometimes those conflicts end up in court. ...
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  • What is an "essential function" for ADA claims in Oklahoma?

    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal statute designed to protect people in Oklahoma and elsewhere from discrimination based on physical or mental impairments. It prohibits employers from discriminating or taking adverse action against an employee or prospective employee based on his or her status as a disabled person. In terms of the hiring process, however, the ADA does not ...
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  • Oklahomans who are "illegal" still must be compensated fairly

    Immigration in general, and "illegal" immigration in particular, seem to be hot subjects across the United States. The arguments for and against comprehensive immigration reform fill the airwaves from coast to coast. Regardless of your opinion on these issues, whether you are an employer or an employee, there is one thing Oklahoma residents should understand: wage and hour laws apply to everyone. ...
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  • How do I file a discrimination claim with EEOC in Oklahoma?

    Under federal law, in most cases, before one can file a lawsuit against an employer for discrimination, one must have first filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC.) The question then arises, how does one go about filing such a charge? The website for the Oklahoma City office of the EEOC indicates that while it is not necessary to have an appointment ...
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  • Workers claim Chipotle broke wage & hour laws

    A nation-wide restaurant chain is in the news recently because some of its employees are claiming that the business required them to perform work while "off-the-clock." Chipotle Mexican Grill, which shares an ownership group with the ubiquitous McDonald's fast food chain, is being accused of making workers work without pay, including Oklahoma workers. Chipotle, which has locations throughout ...
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  • What employment rights do members of the military have?

    Residents in Oklahoma might have heard about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which serves to protect employees who have to leave work for a certain length of time due to illness, pregnancy or other specific reasons. This form of employee protection helps several employees in the state, and some might question if there are other programs that could benefit employees as well. A less-well ...
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  • Overtime and minimum wage violations are "wage theft"

    According to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, almost $1 billion was recovered in 2012 by legal or regulatory action from employers who paid their employees less than minimum wage. And, if a 2009 study that concentrated on three cities were to be extrapolated nationally, the amount that low-wage workers lose to wage theft may be in the vicinity of $50 billion per year. "Wage theft" is a ...
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  • Not all "salaried" employees are exempt from overtime laws

    Many workers and employers in Oklahoma understand that the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that certain employees be paid "overtime" wages under certain circumstances. This is usually "time-and-a-half," or 150% of the employee's normal hourly wage if the employee works more than 40 hours in a work week. Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion, amongst both labor and management, ...
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  • Oklahoma WCC may re-fire employees who filed employment lawsuit

    The Oklahoma State Workers' Compensation Commission (WCC) has been in the news quite a bit recently, and not in a good way. A lawyer for the state attorney general's office gave bad advice to the commission with regard to compliance with Oklahoma's Open Meeting Act (OMA), and then five of 16 employees that were fired by the commission in July filed a wrongful termination lawsuit, alleging ...
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  • Oklahoma Goodwill settles retaliation lawsuit

    An Oklahoma outlet for Goodwill Industries decided to pay a settlement in a case brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The suit involved the alleged retaliation against a worker in a Lawton unit of Goodwill after she testified in another lawsuit regarding a separate matter of sex and age discrimination. The suit claimed that Goodwill fired the employee subsequent to her testimony ...
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  • More on the Family and Medical Leave Act: How much time do I have to use my FMLA leave?

    Previously, I gave a brief overview of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), what it does, and to whom it applies. If you are considering using FMLA leave, you might be wondering if you have to use all 12 weeks provided by the FMLA consecutively, or you might wonder in what time period you have to use your leave. FMLA leave must be used in a 12-month period, but it does not have to be used ...
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  • Protections for Expecting and New Mothers in the Workplace

    What can an employee who becomes pregnant expect from her employer? The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects her job if she needs to take leave due to her pregnancy, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) protects her from being discriminated against, and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects her ability to breastfeed at work. The FMLA protects employees who need to take leave due ...
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  • US Supreme Court Rules Arrestee's Privacy Interest Insufficient to Prevent DNA Collection as NSA Leak Reveals Broad Monitoring of Phone and Internet Communications

    Recently, in Maryland v. King , the United States Supreme Court held that performing cheek swabs to collect DNA for identification purposes from individuals arrested for serious offenses is a legitimate booking procedure, like fingerprinting and photographing, and therefore is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. The case involved Alonzo King, a man who was arrested for felony assault. After his ...
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  • Emerging LGBT Employment Rights

    Unfortunately, LGBT individuals are still not truly protected under Federal and/or state employment laws. LGBT individuals are not able to advance claims of discrimination based upon their sexual orientation, as sexual orientation is not a protected class of individuals under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and all related acts. However, successful claims of sexual discrimination have ...
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