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Dolley Law LLC

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Wage and Employment

Dolley Law has extensive knowledge and experience in wage and hour law. We have successfully represented clients across the country, including in Oklahoma, in connection with these matters. Contact us if you are seeking legal representation in connection with a wage and hour matter.

Oklahoma Minimum Wage Law

Oklahoma follows the federal standard set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) for the minimum wage rate. 40 O.S. § 197.2. The FLSA sets the federal minimum wage rate at $7.25 per hour. 29 U.S.C. § 206. However, employers who are subject to the FLSA are exempt from Oklahoma minimum wage laws. 40 O.S. § 197.4(d).

Oklahoma statute defines an “employer” differently than the FLSA. 40 O.S. § 197.4(d); 29 U.S.C. 203(s). Under Oklahoma statute, an employer must either have ten full-time employees at one location or generate more than $100,000 in revenue annually. 40 O.S. § 197.4(d). By contrast, an “employer” by the FLSA’s definition must gross $500,000 per year or otherwise engage in interstate commerce. 29 U.S.C. § 203(s).

Like other states and the FLSA, Oklahoma recognizes certain special rules to paying employees at an hourly rate less than the minimum wage rate, provided certain conditions apply. 40 O.S. § 197.16. For example, employers are authorized to reduce an employee’s hourly rate by up to 50% of the applicable minimum wage rate so long as the employee still makes a regular rate that is above the minimum wage when all tips are counted toward weekly compensation. Id. 40 O.S. § 197.16. In contrast, the federal minimum hourly rate for tipped employees is significantly lower: $2.13 per hour. 29 C.F.R. § 516.28 (2019).

Oklahoma Overtime Law

Oklahoma has adopted the FLSA’s rules for overtime compensation and has no additional overtime regulations. 380 O.A.C. § 30-1-8(b). Employers should follow the FLSA to pay non-exempt employees a minimum of 1.5 times an employee’s regular rate for every hour worked over 40 in a workweek. U.S.C § 207(a)(1).

Oklahoma does not require meal or rest breaks for most employees. 40 O.S. § 75(C). However, there are protections in place for employees under the age of 16. Id. They must have one cumulative hour of rest breaks for every eight hours worked, and for shifts that last five consecutive hours, there must be at least one thirty-minute break. Id.

Potential Liabilities for Wage and Hour Violations

Employers who violate wage and hour regulations could be held liable for unpaid wages, fines, civil penalties, and attorney’s fees. 40 O.S. § 197.9; 29 U.S.C. § 216.

In a private action brought by an employee, if there are minimum wage and overtime violations, the employer is liable for double unpaid wages, attorney’s fees, and court costs. 40 O.S. § 197.9. These are the same damages an employer may owe under an FLSA claim. 29 U.S.C. § 216.

In an investigation by the Oklahoma Commissioner of Labor, employers pay less in damages. 40 O.S. § 197.8. If, after an investigation, there are unpaid wages owed to the employee, the employer is responsible for paying the full amount of wages plus 10% as a penalty. Id.

In addition to civil penalties, some employers may be guilty of misdemeanors for wage and hour violations. 40 O.S. § 197.13. Employers who pay or agree to pay below minimum wage are guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by no more than a $500 fine and/or imprisonment of up to six months. Id.

These liabilities can be avoided with proactive effort and careful compliance with state and federal wage and hour laws, which is why it is important for both employers and employees to fully understand their legal rights and obligations.

Contact Us

We can help address your questions regarding FLSA and other wage and hour compliance. Whether your matter pertains to overtime, minimum wages, recordkeeping or other wage and hour issues, we have the knowledge and experience to help. If you are in or around Oklahoma, Tulsa, Cleveland, Canadian, Comanche, Rogers, Payne, Wagoner, Pottawatomie, or Creek counties and wish to learn more, please contact an attorney with our Firm to discuss your wage and hour issue at 314-645-4100 or by email at kevin@dolleylaw.com.