Can I Sue for Wrongful Termination in Oklahoma?

If you have been dismissed in Oklahoma based on discrimination or for exercising certain legal rights, you may have been wrongfully terminated and be eligible to file a wrongful termination claim. Oklahoma, like many states, is an at-will employment state where no contract exists between the employee and employer. This means the relationship between the two parties may normally be terminated at any time as long as this is legal.


What Are My Rights in Wrongful Termination?


Even though Oklahoma is an at-will employment state there are situations in which terminating an employee is breaking both federal and state laws and is considered to be wrongful termination. For example, your employer cannot terminate you as an employee in retaliation for you exercising your rights under Oklahoma’s Workers’ Compensation Law, or based on your race, color, sex, pregnancy, age (40 years and over), national origin, religion, genetic information, or mental or physical disability. Also, if you report your employer for illegal conduct, it cannot retaliate by firing you.


If your employer has drawn up an employment contract, you should check it to see under what conditions you can be terminated. Even in the absence of an employment contract your company’s employee manual should include the reasons for terminating you.


Out of the 50 states, Montana is the only state that requires the employer to provide a reason when firing an employee except when an employee is asked to undergo a probationary period at work. If the time of probation isn’t directly specified by the employer it can be up to 6 months. If an employer wishes to dismiss an employee, it must have a reasonable reason which is work-related which could include if the employee doe not perform job tasks satisfactorily or participates in actions that interrupt the business operations of the employer.


If you have been dismissed and you believe it was due to discrimination or another unlawful reason you have the right to sue your employer for wrongful termination.


Suing for Wrongful Termination


If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated because you have filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission (EEOC) or reported an act of discrimination to your employer’s HR department and the employer has decided to retaliate by terminating you, you may seek compensation from your employer. This same action applies if you have been dismissed due to your gender, race, pregnancy status, religion, disability, nationality or another protected feature as determined by either Oklahoma or federal law.


Another reason why you may have been fired is when your employer is in violation of public policy because you have filed a workers’ compensation claim. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated for any of these reasons Oklahoma employment laws sets a number of remedies for victims of wrongful termination.


Before you can be compensated for your wrongful termination you should contact your local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Office of Civil Rights Enforcement (OCRE) and file a claim within 180 days of the wrongful termination taking place if you file with OCRE or within 300 days if you file with EEOC. You must include why you were wrongfully terminated and the agency you file your complaint with will investigate your claim.  


Remedies for Wrongful Termination


If you are approved for a wrongful termination claim you may be entitled to the following:


  • be rehired by your employer;
  • back pay which is offered to compensate you for lost wages from the date you were terminated up to the date of your trial; 
  • front pay is the compensation your employer is expected to provide from the date of the trial into the future depending if and when you begin a new job;
  • out-of-pocket expenses to cover you for those extra costs you have to bear when you apply for other jobs;
  • .attorneys' fees, filing fees and costs are paid by your employer if you win the case.


Federal law has placed a cap on compensatory damages which are based on the size of the employer’s workforce which are:


  • for 15 to 100 employees the cap is $50,000;
  • for 101 to 200 employees the cap is $100,000;
  • for 201 to 500 employees the cap is $200,000;
  • for more than 500 employees the cap is $300,000.


Get Help Today


If you have been wrongfully terminated in Oklahoma it is a good move to get help from an attorney who will help you through this often difficult process so that you get the compensation you deserve.


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