Retailers, others may require employers to work on Thanksgiving

Vic Albert, employment law attorney with Conner & Winters
Oklahoman Published: November 16, 2012
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Q&A with Vic Albert

Employers can tell workers

to show up on Thanksgiving

Q: There's been a lot of publicity lately about large retailers like Walmart, Target and Toys-R-Us requiring employees to work on Thanksgiving Day so they can move back the start time of sales, which had traditionally been offered on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Are employees entitled under Oklahoma or federal law to have Thanksgiving Day off work?

A: No. Both Oklahoma and federal law allow an employer to schedule employees to work on holidays like Thanksgiving Day.

Q: So an employer has complete freedom to change past policies and require employees to work on Thanksgiving Day this year?

A: Not necessarily. Employers are required to follow the terms of any policy, memorandum or agreement on holidays that it has provided to its employees. Most employers publish at the outset of a new year in employment policies or memorandums the holidays that they recognize for employees to be off work for that calendar year. Also, some employers have union agreements or other contractual agreements in which they have agreed to holidays off work for employees.

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by Paula Burkes
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A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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