What are your rights as a worker in Oklahoma?

While Oklahoma is considered a state where employers can fire someone “at-will”, employees should still be aware that there are limitations.

Those living in Oklahoma may or may not be aware that in their State, employers are allowed to fire their employees "at-will". This means that for any reason, at any time, an employer may decide to cease the relationship with their employee. However, as general as this language may seem, there are limitations that legally prevent employers from being able to fire their employees in certain situations. People who know their rights and know the details of this law can better assert themselves in situations where they are under threat of termination, or be better able to respond with legal action if the law is violated.

When can an employer can fire an employee in Oklahoma?

Generally, in the State of Oklahoma, an employer can terminate a worker for just about any reason. The reasons for which an employee may be terminated are must be stated in the contract signed by both parties. Therein lies one of the primary limitations, as if it turns out that an employer has fired someone for a reason that is not included in this contract, that employer may be liable for damages. However, if the reason for which someone gets fired is stated clearly in the aforementioned contract, it is fully within the employer to terminate the worker if they stay within the bounds of this signed agreement.

When can an employer not fire someone in Oklahoma?

There are a few special situations in which it becomes illegal for an employer to fire someone. If an employee has reported illegal activity being conducted by the employer, the employer may not fire said employee in retaliation for doing so. It is also not allowed for employers to terminate someone on the basis of any mental or physical disability, nor may this be done due to an employee's pregnancy. The law also protects employees from being fired on the basis of their genetics, religion, national origin, sex, skin color or race. Firing someone on any of those grounds is considered discrimination by State law. If an employee exercises their rights under the Workers' Compensation Law, this cannot be the reason for which an employee is terminated.

What are some additional employee rights?

The way the law is stated also allows employees to leave their job at any time, for any reason. If an employee chooses to do so, they will not suffer any legal consequences. Both employers and employees should be aware that the employer may change the terms of the employment relationship at any time, as long as the employee is informed.

Anyone in Oklahoma who feels they have been discriminated against or been unfairly fired from their job may find some clarification and possibly get help by consulting an attorney in the local area who practices Employment law.