Labor law or employment law is a set of laws and regulations that governs the management of people in organizations. Federal and state legislation, as well as local ordinances, determine employment regulations.
The Oklahoma labor laws provide higher employee protections than federal law, such as requiring smaller employers to carry health insurance. However, Oklahoma follows the federal law when it comes to topics such as work safety and overtime pay.
Listed below are certain employment requirements in Oklahoma to assist employers and employees in understanding the range of employment laws affecting employer-employee relationships. In addition to complying with federal laws, employers must also comply with Oklahoma working laws.
The importance of employment laws (or labor laws) cannot be overstated; they are the foundation of our economy. The consequences of business violations can be devastating through governmental fines and legal actions, so businesses must implement best practices to ensure the well-being of the company and its employees.
These laws are designed to protect the employee in terms of safety, discrimination, wages, overtime pay, pay periods, illness or injury, and wrongful termination.
In most cases, these regulations deal with the fair treatment of employees. There are four main areas of employment law: Equal Employment, Total Rewards, Employee Safety and Health, and Labor Relations.
Equal Employment Opportunity laws are regulations related to the fair treatment of employees. Specific types of employment discrimination are prohibited by EEO laws. EEO laws and executive orders are designed to prohibit employment discrimination. The EEOC enforces compliance with these laws.
Anti-discrimination legislation has a primary objective to ensure the equitable treatment of all employees in the workplace. These laws prohibit employment discrimination based on race, religion, sex, color, and national origin in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, promotions, and everything relating to employment and employment decisions. Discriminatory practices typically fall into one of four categories:
Historically, the administration of employee compensation, or total rewards, has been regulated by the federal, state, and local governments.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA} is administered by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. The Act sets standards for minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and child labor.
Equal Pay laws prevent employers from paying employees at a rate lower than their counterparts based on their sex. Even though the Equal Pay Act was passed more than 50 years ago, there is still a gender pay gap. On average, women earn only 77 cents for every dollar men earn.
Employers are required to make contributions on behalf of their employees to several social insurance programs, such as social Security, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation (for replacement of income and medical expenses).
In addition, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides paid leave in certain circumstances, can also be considered a mandated benefit even though it doesn’t require that paid leave be given beyond the employer’s leave policy.
To keep employees safe from injury, workplace safety laws comprise federal and state regulations. Nearly all employers are subject to these rules.
Workers are protected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA). OSHA ensures that employers follow safety regulations and keep their workplaces safe.
Workers’ compensation law is a set of state-mandated rules designed to pay the expenses incurred by employees injured on the job. Lost wages, medical expenses, disability payments, and rehabilitation and retraining costs are recoverable. Workers’ compensation laws have been enacted in many states to reduce the risk of personal injury lawsuits for both the employee and the employer.
Labor laws regulate relations between labor unions and their members, includinge setting up, negotiating, and administering collective bargaining agreements.
In addition to the laws described above, there are laws specific to each state. Whether you are an employee or an employer, it’s crucial to know the laws described above as well as the laws specific to each state.
Child Protection: Oklahoma has specific laws addressing child labor issues. The rules that provide the most protection to youth workers apply when federal and state standards differ. Employers must comply with both federal and state laws. The rules vary depending on the age and occupation of the youth worker.
Wages: For covered, nonexempt employees, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Tipped employees are those who work in a position where they receive tips exceeding $30 per month. Tip employees typically earn higher direct wages in many states. It is illegal for employers to offer or require unpaid work.
Overtime Pay: A worker may be required or permitted to work overtime by their employer. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, workers who clock more than 40 hours per week are entitled to overtime pay. This is a general rule with few exceptions.
Safety in the Workplace: Workplace rights are important, especially those which keep you safe. You have the right to:
Discrimination: Several laws protect employees and job candidates against discrimination, harassment, and unfair treatment in the workplace by anyone for reasons such as:
There are many rights over and above what the federal employment laws in Oklahoma are. Overall, the rights of employees in Oklahoma include the following:
The Right to Safety: Employees have the right to a safe workplace, such as one free from cigarette smoke. Employees also must be provided with the training and safety equipment necessary to do their job.
The Right to Fair Pay: Both federal and Oklahoma labor laws define the minimum wage for workers. There are exceptions, such as tipped employees and youth workers, but all adults should be paid equally, regardless of their sex.
The Right to a Discrimination-Free Workplace: Employees have the right to a workplace free from harassment and discrimination, no matter their race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or age.
The Right to Fair Working Hours: Labor laws define the maximum working hours an employee can be required to work, and these laws include the number of hours between shifts, the maximum number of working hours in a shift, breaks, and when overtime is supposed to be paid.
Concerning references, employee performance comments made by the employer are liable as long as the employer acts in good faith. This immunity, however, will not be applicable in the following circumstances:
This is just one example of labor law in Oklahoma. There are many categories of labor laws and employment rights that all employees and employers should be aware of.
Employers and employees both need to understand employment law. Employees should know their rights so they don’t suffer unfair treatment, and employers should be aware of federal and Oklahoma employment laws to avoid legal action resulting from ignorance.
The minimum wage in Oklahoma matches the federal minimum wage. As of 2021, the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
According to Oklahoma law, if you lose your job, your employer must pay your final wages within three days of the day you normally get paid. If you lose your job on the 20th and your next regularly scheduled payday is the 31st, you will have to wait until then to receive your paycheck.
Employers can change employees’ hours without notice and can require them to work overtime. The state of Oklahoma does not have a specific overtime pay law, so it follows the federal overtime laws found in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Employees who work more than 40 hours over seven days are entitled to 1.5x their normal hourly wage.
Oklahoma has a 14-year-old minimum age for employment. Farm and parent-owned businesses are exempt, as are entities in which a parent has an equity interest. Also exempt are children involved in the sale or delivery of newspapers.
Minors under 16 years of age may work up to three (3) hours on school days (Monday through Friday), up to eight (8) hours on non-school days (days when attendance isn’t required), and up to 18 hours in a school week. If school is out for the entire week and attendance is not compulsory, a minor under 16 years of age may work up to 40 hours in a non-school week.
From June 1st to Labor Day, a minor under age 16 years may only work from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
There are no restrictions on the hours or times once the minor reaches 16 years of age.
Yes, in most cases. Due to the at-will rule for private-sector employment, employers in Oklahoma can generally fire employees for any reason or no reason at all.
As with any rule, there are exceptions. Exceptions include: