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Hiring

Advertising
What are the requirements relating to advertising open positions?

Section 1306 of the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act (Okla. Stat. tit. 25, § 1301 et seq.) prohibits employers from printing, publishing, or causing to be printed or published a notice or advertisement relating to employment that indicates a preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, genetic information, or disability, unless the employer can demonstrate that accommodation for the disability would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business. However, the notice or advertisement may indicate a preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based on religion, sex, or national origin when the characteristic is a bona fideoccupational qualification for employment.

Background checks
What can employers do with regard to background checks and inquiries?

(a) Criminal records and arrests

Oklahoma state law prohibits employers from asking about criminal records that have been sealed or expunged. Individuals who are asked about expunged or sealed records can respond as if the criminal action never occurred. Further, employers cannot deny someone employment solely for refusing to disclose sealed or expunged criminal records. Oklahoma state law does not otherwise restrict employers’ questions about criminal records when making hiring decisions. However, the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act (Okla. Stat. tit. 25, § 1301 et seq.) likely restricts employers from considering arrest records of minority applicants, in the same manner as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as amended).  

(b) Medical history

The Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act (Okla. Stat. tit. 25, § 1301 et seq.) prohibits employers from failing or refusing to hire or otherwise discriminating against an individual because of genetic information or disability, unless the employer can demonstrate that accommodation for the disability would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business. The Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act also prohibits employers from limiting, segregating, or classifying an applicant or employee in a way that would deprive or tend to deprive an individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect the status of an employee because of genetic information or disability, unless the employer can demonstrate that accommodation for the disability would impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business operations.

(c) Drug screening

The Oklahoma Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act (Okla. Stat. tit. 40, § 551 et seq.) imposes limitations on when and how employers can perform non-Department of Transportation drug and alcohol screening of applicants and employees. Section 554 of the act expressly allows employers to conduct applicant drug screens. However, employers must first adopt, publish, and provide to applicants and employees a written policy that fully complies with the act. Drug and alcohol screens must also comply with other provisions of the act and the implementing regulations promulgated by the Oklahoma State Department of Health (Oklahoma Administrative Code, Title 310, Chapter 638).  

(d) Credit checks

Summaries of rights provided to applicants and employees under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. § 1681g) must include the precise notice provision set out in Okla. Stat. tit. 24, § 158 regarding the right to obtain a security freeze on a credit report. The summary of rights must also contain a box that the applicant or employee can check to receive a free copy of the report. If this is checked, the employer must request that the credit reporting agency provide a copy of the report to the applicant or employee. The copy must be provided at no charge to the applicant or employee.

(e) Immigration status

Section 1313 of the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act (Okla. Stat. tit. 25, § 1301 et seq.) requires that public employers register with and use a status verification system (as defined by the act) to verify or ascertain the federal employment authorization status of all new employees. Section 1302 of the act prohibits employers from failing or refusing to hire or otherwise discriminating against an individual because of national origin. Employers are also prohibited by this statute from limiting, segregating, or classifying an applicant or employee in a way which would deprive or tend to deprive him or her of employment opportunities because of his or her national origin. However, pursuant to Section 1308 of the act, an employer can hire an individual on the basis of religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information if such action is related to a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the business or enterprise.  

(f) Social media

Effective November 1 2014, employers will be prohibited from:

  • requiring employees or prospective employees to disclose their usernames and passwords or other means of authentication so that the employer can access their personal online social media accounts through an electronic communications device;
  • requiring employees or prospective employees to access their personal social media accounts in a manner that enables the employer to observe the contents of an account that are not available to the general public;
  • taking retaliatory personnel action that materially and negatively affects the terms and conditions of employment against an employee solely for refusing to give the employer the username or password to his or her personal online social media account; or
  • refusing to hire a prospective employee solely as a result of his or her refusal to give the employer the username and password to his or her personal online social media account (Okla. Stat. tit. 40, § 173.2).

However, employers are not completely prohibited from accessing and reviewing employee and prospective employee social media accounts, as further provided by Section 173.2. Employers are free to access and review accounts that are readily available to the public. Employers may also access social media accounts when conducting investigations (as defined by Section 173.2) and when an employee has used the employer’s equipment to access personal online social media accounts.  

(g) Other

Employers cannot fail to hire an individual because he or she is a non-smoker, smoker, or user of tobacco product during non-working hours (Okla. Stat. tit. 40, § 500). Employers are also prohibited from requiring, as a condition of employment, that any employee or applicant abstain from smoking or using tobacco products during non-working hours. There is an exception for bona fide occupational requirements, or where an applicable collective bargaining agreement  prohibits or allows off-duty use of tobacco products.  

Wage and hour

Pay
What are the main sources of wage and hour laws in your state?

In addition to the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Protection of Labor Act (Okla. Stat. tit. 40, § 160 et seq.) and the regulations promulgated by the Oklahoma Department of Labor (Oklahoma Administrative Code, Title 380, Chapter 30) are sources of wage and hour law.  

What is the minimum hourly wage?

Except as otherwise provided in the Oklahoma Minimum Wage Act (Okla. Stat. tit. 40 § 197.1 et seq.), Oklahoma has adopted the current federal minimum wage rate as the minimum wage rate for employees in Oklahoma. Exceptions include the Oklahoma Commissioner of Labor’s authority to issue regulations providing for lower wages for:

  • learners, apprentices, messengers, and individuals whose earning capacity is impaired by age or physical or mental deficiency or injury;
  • individuals employed by any state, county, city, town, municipal corporation, or quasi-municipal corporation, political subdivision, or any instrumentality thereof; and
  • students and regular attendants at any institution of higher learning, either public or private.  

The Oklahoma Minimum Wage Act (Okla. Stat. tit. 40, § 197.4 (e)) also excludes the following from the definition of “employee” as used in the act:

  • certain individuals employed in agriculture;
  • individuals employed in domestic service in a private home;
  • individuals employed by the U.S. government;
  • individuals working as a volunteer in a charitable, religious, or other non-profit organization;
  • newspaper vendors or carriers;
  • employees of any carrier subject to regulation by Part I of the federal Interstate Commerce Act;
  • employees of any employer subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (or any other federal wage and hour law) who are paid the minimum wage required by such acts or laws;
  • employees employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity;
  • employees employed in the capacity of outside sales;
  • any person employed on a temporary basis for less than 25 hours per week;
  • any person who is less than 18 years old and is not a high school graduate or graduate of a vocational training program;
  • any person who is less than 22 years old and who is a regularly enrolled student in a high school, college, university or vocational training program;
  • any individual employed in a feed store operated primarily for the benefit and use of farmers and ranchers; and
  • any individual working as a reserve force deputy sheriff. 

Employers covered by the Oklahoma Minimum Wage Act include:

  • any individual, partnership, association, corporation, business trust, or any person or group of persons, hiring more than 10 full-time employees or equivalent at any one location or place of business;
  • employers that have less than the equivalent of 10 full-time employees at any one location or place of business and that do a gross business of more than $100,000 annually;
  • employers that are subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and that are paying the minimum wage under the act; and
  • employers of employees who are exempt from the Oklahoma Minimum Wage Act (Okla. Stat. tit. 40 § 197.4 (d)).  

What are the rules applicable to final pay and deductions from wages?

Under Oklahoma state law, an employer cannot deduct any amount from an employee's wages, unless legislation or a court order mandates such, or unless the deduction is made pursuant to Section 380:30-1-7 of the Oklahoma Administrative Code. It is permissible for an employer and employee to voluntarily enter into a payroll deduction agreement, including deductions in order to:

  • allow the employee to repay a loan or advance that the employer made to the employee during the course of, and within the scope of, employment or to allow for recovery of payroll overpayment;
  • compensate the employer for the value of the employer's merchandise or uniforms purchased by the employee;
  • provide payment for medical, accident, disability, or retirement benefits, or insurance premiums, not including workers' compensation or unemployment;
  • provide for contributions to a deferred compensation plan or other investment plan provided by the employer as a benefit to the employee; and
  • compensate the employer for breakage or loss of merchandise, inventory shortage, or cash shortage caused by the employee, where the employee was the sole party responsible for the cash or items damaged or lost at the time the damage or loss occurred.

Payroll deduction agreements must be in writing and signed by the employee before any deduction authorized by such agreement is taken. 

Hours and overtime
What are the requirements for meal and rest breaks?

Oklahoma law does not require private employers to provide meal or rest breaks to employees.   

What are the maximum hour rules?

Oklahoma has recognized that payment of overtime is a matter of federal law, and thus the Oklahoma Department of Labor has adopted the U.S. Department of Labor regulations, as published in the Code of Federal Regulations and the Interpretive Bulletins relating thereto, in determining overtime claims.

How should overtime be calculated?

Oklahoma has recognized that payment of overtime is a matter of federal law, and thus the Oklahoma Department of Labor has adopted the U.S. Department of Labor regulations, as published in the Code of Federal Regulations and the Interpretive Bulletins relating thereto.

What exemptions are there from overtime?

Oklahoma has recognized that payment of overtime is a matter of federal law, and thus the Oklahoma Department of Labor has adopted the U.S. Department of Labor regulations, as published in the Code of Federal Regulations and the Interpretive Bulletins relating thereto.

Record keeping
What payroll and payment records must be maintained?

Employers are required to provide employees with a brief itemized statement of all deductions from the wage payment whenever wages are paid.  

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