Business litigation often centers around wage and hour disputes between employees and employers. Naturally, employees want and deserve to be compensated for their hard work while employees need to do what’s best for their business. At times, these two interests can be in conflict with each other, resulting in a misunderstanding of Oklahoma wage and hour rights and responsibilities.
It’s imperative that both parties understand these laws in order to avoid litigation in the future. We want to sift through some of the misconceptions surrounding these laws in Oklahoma.
Fact: Not Every Business has to Abide By the Minimum Wage
Oklahoma follows the same Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25 that has been in effect since 2000. Certain small businesses are able to pay even less than the minimum wage if at least one of two circumstances are present:
- There are fewer than 10 full-time employees
- The business grosses less than $100,000 annually
Unless the company is otherwise bound by federal wage and hour laws, the company can pay less than the minimum wage in those circumstances.
Myth: Everyone Is Guaranteed a Lunch Break
It would seemingly make sense that a lunch break during the workday would be guaranteed by state and/or federal law. However, only Oklahoma child labor laws have language regarding work breaks.
Children who are 14 or 15 years old and who are legally working in the state must be granted a lunch break. Outside of that, any employee who is 16 or older is not guaranteed a lunch break – this is considered a benefit in Oklahoma, not a right.
Fact: Employers Can Change Employee Schedules at Any Time
Oklahoma empowers its employers to make a change to employee work schedules at any time without notice or agreement. A schedule can be changed without notice even after it has been posted.
This allows businesses to ensure the necessary work is getting done, but this can create frustration for employees. Of course, any additional time worked beyond 40 hours at companies bound by federal wage and hour laws must be paid out at time and a half.
Myth: You Can Litigate Your Own Wage and Hour Dispute
Oklahoma Wage and Hour Laws set the tone for how employers and employees must act throughout employment. Litigating wage and hour laws can be a long, complicated process. It’s imperative to have an experienced and trusted attorney on your side (but not actually required by law).Even if many of these laws and guidelines seem straightforward, employers and employees alike still get them wrong. If you are dealing with a wage and hour dispute in Oklahoma, contact Pence Law Firm.