Oklahoma Overtime Laws

April 11th 2024

Oklahoma overtime laws are regulated by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These laws require employers to pay eligible workers at a higher rate for any additional time worked. By incorporating provisions that protect employees’ rights and promote a healthy work-life balance, overtime laws contribute to a more equitable and productive workforce in the state.

This article will provide information to successfully navigate Oklahoma’s overtime regulations, whether you’re an employer aiming for compliance or an employee defending your rights.

This article covers:

Oklahoma Overtime Rates

In Oklahoma, overtime rates refer to additional compensation that employees may be entitled to receive when they work beyond their regular working hours. Employees who work over 40 hours per week are entitled to overtime pay at time-and-a-half (1.5) for every additional hour worked. 

Since the regular minimum wage in Oklahoma is $7.25 per hour, this means Oklahoma’s overtime minimum rate is $10.88 per hour. 

Overtime Entitlement in Oklahoma

According to Oklahoma overtime laws, overtime pay is required for any non-exempt employees. 

Employees in non-exempt industries who make less than $684 per week ($35,568 annually) are entitled to overtime compensation.

However, an employee’s overall eligibility for overtime pay is based on job duties or business they are involved in.

Read more about Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Oklahoma.

Overtime for Tipped Employees in Oklahoma

The overtime rate for tipped employees is 1.5 times their regular wage for every overtime hour worked. It is important to note that tipped employees in Oklahoma are subject to a lower minimum wage of $2.13 per hour instead of the regular state minimum wage. 

The use of a “tip credit” system, which permits employers to pay tipped employees a reduced minimum wage, is permitted by both state and federal legislation. However, a tipped worker must accumulate enough tips to total up to the regular minimum wage of $7.25. If their wage, including tips earned, falls below the regular minimum wage, their employer must make up the difference.

That being said, an employer cannot include that tip credit in the calculation of overtime pay. This means that the entire minimum wage (following the Oklahoma minimum wage which is $7.25) must be taken into account when calculating overtime pay.

Overtime for Salaried Employees in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, only certain salaried employees have the right to receive overtime pay. A salaried employee is an individual who receives a predetermined salary, regardless of the actual hours worked. This means that even if they work more than the hours their salary compensates for, they are still entitled to additional compensation for their extra hours.

To determine a salaried employee’s overtime rate, an employer must first determine their employee’s hourly rate by dividing the salary by the number of hours that salary compensates for.

Then, take the hourly pay rate to calculate the overtime rate for salaried employees using the following formula:

Hourly pay rate x Overtime Hours x Overtime Rate (1.5)

It is important to note that if an employee’s salary covers less than 40 (hours) in a workweek, their regular rate will be added for every subsequent hour working up to the 40. Only after 40 hours will time-and-a-half be counted.

If an employee’s salary covers 40 (hours) in a workweek, then time-and-a-half will be paid for any hours over 40.

Calculating Overtime with Commission in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, employees who may receive commissions are still entitled to overtime pay although the rate may differ.

If an employee receives weekly commissions, the commission will be combined with the employee’s weekly wage to get the total earnings for the week. The amount is then divided by the total number of hours worked in the week to determine the regular hourly rate for that week. For any hours worked beyond 40 per week, the employee must be paid additional compensation at a rate of half of the regular hourly rate.

For example, let’s say an employee works 45 hours a week at a rate of $7.25/hour (Oklahoma minimum wage) and receives $50 in commissions for that week. 

(Total hours x Hourly Rate) + Commission

= (45 x 7.25) + 50

= $376.25 (total earnings for the week)

Then, divide that by the total hours worked in the week.

= 376.25 / 45

=$8.36 (new regular hourly rate)

To determine the overtime rate for the commissioned employees, we need to take that new regular hourly rate and halve it.

$8.36 / 2

= $4.18

Since the employee worked an extra 5 hours in the week, that makes his overtime compensation $20.90 ($4.18 x 5 hours).

The amount will vary according to the hours worked, hourly rate, and commission earned.

Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Oklahoma

It is crucial to understand that not all employees are eligible to receive overtime pay. To be exempt from overtime, specific criteria, outlined by the law, must be met. Furthermore, overtime eligibility can be influenced by job responsibilities, industry, or position held. It should be noted that certain employees may fall under exemptions defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act, which exempts them from receiving overtime compensation. 

The following are among the exempted:

  • Executive, administrative, and professional employees who receive a fixed salary of at least $684 per month (or $35,568 per year)
  • Computer employees who earn not less than $684 a week or $27.63 per hour
  • Highly compensated employees who earn $107,432 per year or more
  • Outside sale employees
  • Agricultural or horticultural employees
  • Commissioned sales employees in retail or service establishments who receive more than half of their earnings from commissions on goods or services
  • Motor carrier employees (e.g. drivers, driver’s helpers, loaders, or mechanics providing services in transportation on highways in interstate or foreign commerce)

Penalties for Not Providing Overtime Pay to Employees in Oklahoma

Employers who intentionally or repeatedly disregard the overtime payment regulations set forth by the FLSA may face a civil monetary penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation committed. 

In Oklahoma, failure to provide an employee their rightful wages is considered a misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 6 months and fines reaching up to $5,000. Additionally, if there are outstanding wages owed to the employee, a 10% penalty will be imposed.

Statute of Limitations for Unpaid Overtime Claims in Oklahoma

The statute of limitations for an employee to file for an overtime wage complaint is two years. This can be increased to three years if the employer knowingly and willfully violated overtime regulations.

Legal Cases Relating to Overtime Compensation in Oklahoma

Below, we present law cases relating to fair overtime compensation for employees in Oklahoma: 

1. School District Sued by a Teacher Assistant for Unpaid Overtime Wages

In the case of Coleman v. Independent School District No. 1-41 of Oklahoma County, Abram Coleman filed a lawsuit against Independent School District (the “District”) for unpaid coaching and overtime wages. Coleman was employed by the District as a teacher assistant/paraprofessional.

Coleman had a specified work schedule and hourly rate but his contract did not mention any coaching duties or compensation for coaching. However, in addition to his paraprofessional role, Coleman also served as an assistant varsity girls’ basketball coach. There was a dispute regarding the payment for this coaching role, its impact on overtime eligibility, and whether there was an oral agreement to increase his wages. 

The District ended up terminating Coleman’s employment, which led to the filing of this lawsuit. The District argued against Coleman’s claims by stating that he was paid in full for any wages. The District also contends that the Court should only consider the written contracts and asserts inconsistencies in Coleman’s claims. Coleman argued that the written contract did not cover coaching duties and that there was a dispute regarding the terms of his coaching agreement and FLSA violations.

The Court found that the written contract did not encompass the entire employment agreement and concluded that the dispute of material fact should be decided by a jury. That being said, the court decided that this case would proceed to trial. The final ruling of the overall case is undetermined.

Key lessons from this case:

  • A written employment contract can establish the terms of employment, including work hours and compensation, but it may not cover all conditions of employment.
  • An employment contract is usually used to determine overtime eligibility as it contains an employee’s job duties and responsibilities.
  • Employees should discuss their job responsibilities with their employer beforehand to ensure appropriate compensation.
2. Vape Store Employee Seek Compensation for Overtime Wage and Retaliation Claims

In the case of Barnett v. Vapor Maven, Jasmine Barnett filed a lawsuit against Vapor Maven, a vape store chain, for wage and retaliation claims. In this lawsuit, Barnett had also named Harminder and Gurpreet Thind as her joint employers. 

Barnett claimed that she was assigned various job titles and duties during her employment, which made it difficult to determine her official job title by the end of her employment. Barnett was terminated after she had complained about regularly working overtime for more than 40 hours per week but had not received overtime pay.

Gurpreet Thind, one of the joint employers, filed a motion to dismiss the claims against her. Thind argued that Barnett failed to establish that she was Barnett’s employer under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The court evaluated the legal standard for a motion to dismiss and considered the definition of an “employer” under the FLSA, which included any person acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer concerning an employee. The court noted that joint employers can be held jointly and severally liable for FLSA compliance.

Barnett alleged that Thind, along with the other employers, exercised joint control over her duties, work locations, hours, and employment terms and conditions. The court determined that the complaint provided fair notice of the claims and the grounds upon which they rested. Although the complaint didn’t provide specific detailed facts, the court recognized that such details would likely emerge during the discovery process. 

Therefore, the court denied Thind’s motion to dismiss.

Key lessons from this case:

  • Employers who share control and responsibilities over employees may be considered joint employers and can be held jointly liable for violations of overtime laws.
  • Employees who make complaints about nonpayment of overtime wages are protected from retaliation.
  • While specific details may not be available at the early stages, the allegations should outline the essential elements of the claim.
3. Joint Employers Retaliate Against Employees for Asserting Overtime Pay Rights

In the case of Zeeshan v. Zainab Petroleum, Inc., Sarah Zeeshan and Zeeshan Choudhry filed a lawsuit against Zainab Petroleum (Zainab), Gondal Petroleum (Gondal), and Budget Inn (Budget). for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Zeeshan and Choudhry claimed that they were employed at gas stations operated by Zainab and Gondal, and a hotel operated by Budget. They alleged that their duties included cleaning rooms, managing the front desk, doing laundry at the hotel, handling accounting work, and closing the gas stations every night. Zeeshan and Choudhry claimed that despite working an average of 84 hours per week, they were not compensated for overtime.

Zeeshan and Choudhry further asserted that the court had jurisdiction over the case because the employers engaged in interstate commerce. They contended that the employers sold goods nationwide, transported goods across state lines, used interstate telephonic communications, and had annual gross sales exceeding $500,000, satisfying the FLSA’s jurisdictional requirements.

Additionally, Zeeshan and Choudhry claimed that Zainab, Gondal, and Budget were joint employers and that they had willfully and recklessly disregarded the FLSA provisions. Zeeshan and Choudhry sought “double damages” as a result. They also alleged that the employers retaliated against them for asserting their rights under the FLSA by filing a separate lawsuit in the District Court.

Zainab, Gondal, and Budget filed a motion for summary judgment. They argued that Zeeshan and Choudhry failed to provide sufficient evidence of minimum wage violations, establish subject matter jurisdiction, demonstrate exemption from the FLSA’s hotel/motel provision, and prove their damages. The employers also claimed that Zeeshan and Choudhry were independent contractors rather than employees. However, the court denied the motion for summary judgment, stating that there was no evidence to support their arguments. The case would proceed to trial to determine the outcome.

Key lessons from this case:

  • Employers who share employees and have operational control over a business can be held jointly liable for violations of overtime laws.
  • FLSA regulations apply to employers who are engaged in interstate commerce, such as conducting business transactions that involve interstate activities.
  • Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who assert their rights under the FLSA.

Learn more about Oklahoma Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.