On June 26, 2018, Oklahoma voters passed State Question 788, which legalizes marijuana use for medical purposes in Oklahoma. With the passage of this ballot measure, Oklahoma became the 30th state to pass a medical marijuana law.
The new law goes into effect on July 26, 2018, and does have some implications for Oklahoma employers. Specifically, the law prohibits employers from taking action against applicants or employees solely based on their status as a medical marijuana license holder or due to a positive drug test result.
While the new law does prohibit employers from discriminating against medical marijuana license holders, employers are permitted to take action against a holder of a medical marijuana license holder if the holders use or possess marijuana while in the holder’s place of employment or during the hours of employment.
Take Home For Employers Continue reading NEW LAW: Oklahoma Voters Approve Ballot Initiative Legalizing Medical Marijuana
Thirty-five states have agreed to “team up” with the US Department of Labor to investigate worker misclassification. Is your state one of them?
In 2015, Department of Labor launched an initiative to combat the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. As a part of this initiative, the Department of Labor sought to partner with the state agencies and agree to share information and conduct joint investigations regarding independent contractor misclassification. To date, 35 states have entered into a memorandum of understanding regarding worker misclassification issues.
These states are:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
What does this mean for employers in these states?
Employers in the above-listed states should expect collaborative efforts between their state agencies and the Department of Labor during a investigation into potential employee misclassification as the state and the Department of Labor will share information. This could lead to simultaneous, multi-agency investigations into worker classification. It is recommended that companies have qualified legal counsel review any existing independent contractor arrangements. In addition, before entering into an independent contractor relationship, speak with an HR Professional or qualified legal counsel to verify that the worker truly is an independent contractor.
In a recent decision (Sharp v. CGG Land (U.S.) Inc.), the Oklahoma Federal District Court held that payment for travel expenses may be excluded from an employer’s calculation of the regular rate of pay for purposes of calculating the employee’s overtime rate.
In this case, the employer paid its employees a “fixed” travel expense reimbursement (i.e. a per diem) of $35, which was intended to compensate employees for the meal expenses they incurred when they travelled to remote work sites. The employee argued that the payment was a wage and should have been included in the employer’s calculation of the employee’s regular rate of pay. The Court disagreed and held that the payments were reasonable payments for travel expenses and should be excluded from the calculation of the regular rate of pay.