Like every other state, Oklahoma has laws protecting employees from being fired or retaliated against for reporting illegal activities by an employer. While Oklahoma is an at-will employment state -- meaning that most employees may be dismissed for any reason -- there are exceptions to this general rule carved out either by the courts or the legislature.
One of these exceptions is known as the public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine. This exception dictates that an employer cannot fire an employee for any reason that is contrary to public policy. For example, Oklahoma employees have a statutory right to collect workers’ compensation benefits. Therefore, an employee cannot be retaliated against for exercising his or her right to file for workers’ compensation benefits since denying an employee this right contravenes public policy.
Oklahoma Whistleblower Protection Laws
The state of Oklahoma has passed a number of laws that protect whistleblowers from retaliation, including the termination of their employment.
The Oklahoma Whistleblower Act provides protection to whistleblowers at state government agencies. This law ensures that whistleblowers will not be fired for reporting certain types of illegal activity, including violations of the constitution or actions that put the public in danger.
Oklahoma law also protects whistleblowers that report violations of certain labor laws, including violations of child labor, safety, minimum wage, and other labor laws.
In addition, Oklahoma law protects employees from being discharged or retaliated against for:
- Reporting suspected abuse or neglect of children.
- Filing a complaint or assisting in an investigation of unlawful discrimination.
- Participating in the state workers’ compensation claim process.
- Testifying before a committee.
- Refusing to violate the Public Health Code.
- Refusing to violate state safety regulations when operating a vehicle.
These laws were established to ensure that whistleblowers never fear the consequences of doing the right thing. But unfortunately, some employers choose to retaliate against whistleblowers despite these laws.
The laws protecting whistleblowers are complex, and it’s not easy to hold your employer accountable for your wrongful termination, which is why it’s best to get an attorney’s help. An attorney can file a wrongful termination claim against your employer and fight for the compensation you deserve. Experienced attorneys can help whistleblowers recover compensation for lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and attorneys’ fees. Sometimes, the court will even order your employer to reinstate you to your former position since you should have never been removed in the first place.
Employers often retaliate against whistleblowers to punish them for reporting wrongdoing. If this happens to you, it’s in your best interest to contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let our experienced attorneys ensure you are fully compensated for the damage caused by your employer’s retaliatory behavior. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.