In 2007, Oklahoma passed a law that: 1) Required employers who entered into contracts with the state or any other public entity in the state to use the E-Verify System to verify the employment eligibility of their new employees; 2) created a cause of action for employment discrimination against all Oklahoma employers that discharged a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident employee while retaining an undocumented worker hired in a comparable position, if the employer reasonably knew that the retained employee was undocumented; and 3) required all Oklahoma businesses to verify the work authorization status of each individual independent contractor who contracted within the state in order to avoid tax penalties.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed a trial court’s preliminary injunction barring enforcement of some of these provisions. More specifically, the circuit court invalidated the provisions which sought to create a new cause of election against Oklahoma employers that discharged United States citizens or lawful permanent resident employees while retaining undocumented workers; and required all Oklahoma businesses to obtain documents to verify the work eligibility of their independent contractors or withhold certain taxes from them. However, the court reversed the lower courts decision against the enforcement of the mandate requiring employers who enter into contracts with the state or with any other public entity of the state to use the E-Verify system.