Oklahoma law generally disapproves of contracts that restrict an individual’s right to earn a living, such as non-compete agreements.
However, effective November 1, 2013, a new Oklahoma statute will give employers a tool to prevent former employees from hurting their businesses.
The new section, codified at 15 Okla. Stat. § 219B, clarifies that employers may prohibit employees (or independent contractors) from wooing away their former coworkers once they leave employment.
A contract or contractual provision which prohibits an employee or independent contractor of a person or business from soliciting, directly or indirectly, actively or inactively, the employees or independent contractors of that person or business to become employees or independent contractors of another person or business shall not be construed as a restraint from exercising a lawful profession, trade or business of any kind.
Restrictions on soliciting an employer’s workers still have to be part of an otherwise enforceable contract. Employers need to be careful that they are not altering the otherwise at-will employment relationship with such agreements.