Oklahoma is an at-will employment state, which means both the employee and employer have the right to terminate their relationship at any time. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule. If you are a worker in Oklahoma, it’s important to understand your rights in the workplace. Here’s what you should know:
Most employees in Oklahoma are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for work-related injuries. Furthermore, employees are protected from discrimination and retaliation related to their decision to file a claim for benefits. This means you cannot be fired simply because you chose to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Even if you are an at-will employee, your employer cannot terminate you for this reason.
Discrimination and Harassment
It is also illegal to terminate an at-will employee because of their race, color, sex, pregnancy, age, national origin, or disability. Deciding to terminate an employee based on one of these characteristics is a form of illegal discrimination. It doesn’t matter that you are an at-will employee—this type of discrimination is still banned by federal and state law.
As an at-will employee, you also have the right to report discrimination and harassment and participate in investigations into discrimination and harassment. Your employer cannot fire you—even if you are an at-will employee—solely because you chose to report or participate in these matters. This is a form of retaliation that is prohibited by federal and state law.
Some workers are not considered at-will employees. If you signed an employment contract with your employer, this means you are no longer considered an at-will employee who can be terminated at any time. Instead, your contract should clearly outline when your employer is allowed to legally terminate your employment.
For example, an employment contract may end on a certain date, but give your employer the right to terminate the relationship early if you commit a crime or fail to meet certain performance goals. Your employer must comply with the terms of the contract. If they terminate you for a reason not specified in the agreement, you can take legal action for this breach of contract.
Have you been wrongfully terminated? If so, turn to the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. as soon as possible. Let us work tirelessly to hold your employer accountable for this violation of your workplace rights. Call us at (918) 582-2500 or toll-free at (800) 722-8880 or complete the simple form below for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.