Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Toure Files Petition Seeking 15-Day Termination Notice

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Toure Files Petition Seeking 15-Day Termination Notice

Article excerpt

An initiative petition filed with Secretary of State Mike Hunter on Tuesday by Rep. Opio Toure, D-Oklahoma City, would require employers to give workers 15 days' notice before termination.

The statutory "Employee Fairness Act" would not require advance notice in cases of firing for cause. It also does not affect employees covered by employment contracts. Those injured by a violation of the act could bring a civil action for actual damages, reinstatement, back pay, court costs and attorney fees.

Although the measure does not abolish the employment-at-will status of most Oklahoma workers, Toure sees the 15-day notification as a major benefit.

If Toure is successful in obtaining the 98,739 valid voter signatures required to place the concept on the ballot, it would go before voters on Nov. 5, 2002.

This could very well be the same day Oklahomans say yea or nay on right to work, which some, including Toure, see as the opposite side of the employment-rights coin.

House members will vote on Senate Joint Resolution 1, the right- to-work legislation, today. Its August special-election section is expected to fail. This means that the vote cannot occur until November of next year, barring further legislative action setting an earlier date.

"Employees will also have the information they need to make an informed decision about the Employee Fairness Act," Toure said.

He said one change in the initiative from his legislation which failed in committee is that the petition does not require the employee to give 15 days' notice before leaving employment.

"It would protect workers to the extent that they would have 15 days' notice before being terminated," he said. …

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