Articles

Oklahoma transgender employee seeks reinstatement

In November we alerted employers that an Oklahoma City federal court jury awarded Rachel Tudor, a transgender employee, $1.165 million in her discrimination, retaliation and hostile work environment lawsuit against Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SEOSU). Since that time, at least three other federal appeals courts have likewise held that discrimination on the basis of transgender…

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Resolution of wage violations not necessarily assured under PAID pilot program

A new pilot program announced by the U.S. Department of Labor just last week provides employers with renewed hope that the agency is changing its approach from one of strict regulatory enforcement to one that seeks to encourage voluntary compliance and minimize litigation.  Employers, however, should proceed with caution before voluntarily disclosing their possible violations…

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Sixth Circuit rules Title VII outweighs religious defense in case of transgender employee

While the debate is still not settled as to whether Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination applies to LGBTQ workers, at least one more federal appeals court has officially weighed in on the subject. On March 7, 2018, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that federal anti-discrimination laws include protections for transgender and/or transitioning…

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Appeals court continues narrow interpretation of Oklahoma’s non‑solicitation statute

Dealing with departing employees can be tricky. That’s why many companies require certain employees — particularly those with access to confidential or proprietary company information or customers — to sign written agreements that prohibit them from engaging in various acts of unfair competition after they leave the company. While Oklahoma law looks favorably on confidentiality…

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With yet another court ruling sexual orientation discrimination unlawful, Supreme Court expected to weigh in

Courts have disagreed on whether an employer discriminating against an employee based upon their sexual orientation violates federal anti-discrimination laws. Yesterday’s ruling by a New York federal appeals court means this issue is bound to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Firing of gay worker leads to Title VII lawsuit Donald Zarda worked for…

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Valuable free OSHA resource available for Oklahoma employers

Understanding and complying with OSHA’s many requirements can be daunting. At a recent Tulsa Area Employer Council meeting, Jason Hudson with the Oklahoma Department of Labor explained an excellent tool available for Oklahoma employers trying to address workplace safety and OSHA issues. Hudson is director of the department’s Safety Pays® OSHA Consultation Division, which is…

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Work schedule conflict leads to religious accommodation lawsuit

A recent decision by the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals (the jurisdiction that covers Oklahoma federal courts) provides another reminder that religious accommodations come in all shapes and sizes, and that proving “undue hardship” is often a high hurdle for employers. While a number of religious discrimination lawsuits in recent years have focused on…

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