What You Can Do If You Were Wrongfully Terminated

Oklahoma follows the “at-will” rule, which means an employer can terminate their employees for any reason and at any time, or for no apparent reason at all.

However, there are a few distinct exceptions to this rule. If your employer discriminated against you for any reason or for exercising your rights, you could have a legal claim against them for unlawful termination.

1.Discrimination

It’s illegal to fire an employee based on certain federally protected characteristics.

Federal law prohibits employee termination based on:

  • race;
  • age (if the employee is 40 years old or older);
  • skin color;
  • nationality;
  • sex;
  • pregnancy;
  • religion;
  • disability;
  • citizenship status; and
  • military service.


This also makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against you for asserting your rights. For example, if you complain to your HR department that you believe you weren’t considered for a promotion because of your sex, your employer cannot terminate or discipline you for this complaint.

2.Breach of Contract

If you received a written contract promising job security, you are no longer an “at-will” employee. If you have an employee contract and your employer terminates you for no real reason, you could have a legal case for breach of contract.

3.Hour and/or Wage Issues

The current Oklahoma minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Employees who work more than 40 hours a week are eligible for overtime under state and federal laws. Employers who choose to provide breaks that are 20 minutes or less must pay their employees for that time. If an employer is forcing their employees to “clock out” during these breaks, they can’t terminate an employee for not doing so.

4.Time Off

Federal and state laws allow employees to take time off work for certain personal responsibilities and civic obligations. An Oklahoma employer cannot discipline or terminate employees for exercising these rights, which include:

  • Military leave: Employees have the right to take up to 5 years of military leave, with the option of returning to their current position when they get back. Oklahoma extends these rights to people serving in the National Guard as well.
  • Jury duty: Employees are entitled to unpaid leave for jury duty. Employers cannot require them to use any form of accrued paid time off. An employer who terminates or penalizes employees for jury duty could be subject to criminal penalties.
  • Voting: Employees are entitled to paid leave to vote. An employee is allotted 2 hours off, unless more time is needed.
  • Medical and/or family leave: Oklahoma employees are protected by the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). An employer with 50 or more employees must provide employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid time per year, should the need arise.

Contact Bundren Law Firm P.C. Today

If you were terminated for any of the reasons listed above, our employment law attorneys can help. We are a passionate law firm that is committed to advocating on behalf of wrongfully terminated employees.

Contact our office online or give us a call at (918) 992-3300 for a case evaluation.

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