Sam Fulkerson's practice is focused on the representation of management in all phases of the employment relationship, including litigation before federal and state courts, regulatory and administrative agencies, and in arbitration matters. He also handles litigation matters involving the enforcement of non-competition and confidentiality agreements, breach of employment contracts, handbook and personnel policy violations, wage and hour disputes, and other disputes arising out of the employment relationship.
Sam has extensive experience in mediating and arbitrating employment disputes before the American Arbitration Association and other alternative dispute resolution organizations. He also has successfully represented employers in ERISA-based lawsuits against third-party administrators for misuse of employer funds, and against insurers for bad faith denial of employer claims under medical excess loss policies.
In addition to litigation matters, Sam assists employers in developing employment policies and arbitration programs, and with preventive training for both management and hourly employees. He also routinely advises employers on hiring, discipline and termination, severance and reduction-in-force matters.
Sam lectures frequently on employment law topics in Oklahoma and elsewhere, including for the University of Oklahoma Center for Continuing Education, the Oklahoma Bar Association, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit Annual Seminar, and the Southern Methodist University School of Law Multi-State Labor and Employment Law Seminar. Sam also has published scholarly articles in the Oklahoma Law Review and the Society for Human Resource Management Legal Report, and he was the primary author of "Age Discrimination in the Workplace: A Primer for Human Resource Professionals," Society for Human Resource Management (1999). He has also taught employment discrimination law while serving as an adjunct professor at the Oklahoma City University School of Law.
Sam is the designated co-representative of McAfee & Taft as the exclusive member firm representing Oklahoma in the Employers Counsel Network, a nationwide affiliation of leading law firms providing legal assistance and representation to employers. He is also co-editor of the Oklahoma Employment Law Letter, a monthly review of new court decisions, regulations and laws that affect state employers, as well as co-editor for the Oklahoma section of the annual guidebook for employers and human resources professionals, 50 Employment Laws in 50 States.
His achievements have earned him inclusion in Chambers USA Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business, The Best Lawyers in America (employment law - management; labor law - management; labor and employment litigation) and Oklahoma Super Lawyers, which also named him to its list of "Top 50 Oklahoma Lawyers." Sam holds the distinction of being the only Oklahoma attorney named to the 2011-2012 edition of the International Who's Who of Managment Labour & Employment Lawyers and for being selected " Best Lawyers' 2012 Oklahoma City Labor and Employment Litigation Lawyer of the Year," an honor only given to a single lawyer in each legal specialty in each community. In 2011, he was named to The Journal Record's list of Leadership in Law Award honorees.
Sam previously served as the leader of the firm's Labor and Employment Group for five years.
· Nationwide defense of employment litigation and arbitration matters.
· Representation of employers before the EEOC and various state human rights agencies.
· Representation of employers in wage and hour and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor.
· Representation of employers in state wage and hour and unemployment claims.
· Representation of employers in litigation relating to employment contracts, commission disputes and non-compete agreements.
· Bolton v. Scrivner, Inc., 836 F.Supp. 783 (W.D.Okl. 1993), aff'd, 36 F.3d 939 (10th Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 115 S.Ct. 1104 (1995) (interpretation of "disabled person" under Americans with Disabilities Act.
· Milton v. Scrivner, Inc., 901 F.Supp. 1541 (W.D.Okl. 1994), aff'd, 53 F.3d 1118 (10th Cir. 1995) (definition of "disability" under Americans with Disabilities Act.
· Massey v. Scrivner, Inc., 901 F.Supp. 1546 (W.D.Okl. 1994), aff'd, 53 F.3d 1118 (10th Cir. 1995) (definition of "disability" and speed of production as a "bona fide occupational qualification" under Americans with Disabilities Act).
· Sarsycki v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 862 F.Supp. 336 (W.D.Okl. 1994) (impact of mitigating measures on determination of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act).
· Atkinson v. Halliburton Co., 905 P.2d 772 (Okla. 1995) (administrative procedure under Oklahoma handicap discrimination statute).
· Cole v. Halliburton Co., 6 Wage & Hour Cas. 2d 990 (W.D. Okla., Sep 06, 2000) (enforceability of arbitration agreements.
· Walker v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 240 F.3d 1268 (10th Cir. 2000) (administrative exhaustion requirements under Title VII, and recoverable damages under the Family and Medical Leave Act).
· Pierce, et al v. Kellogg, Brown & Root, Inc., 245 F.Supp.2d 1212 (E.D. Okl. 2003) (enforceability of arbitration agreements).
· Eapen v. McMillan, P.3d (Ok. Ct. App. 2008) (no individual liability under Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act and public policy tort).
· Miami Business Services, Inc. v. The Hon. Lisa Davis, and Asset Group, Inc., et al, 2013 OK 20 (motion to disqualify opposing counsel; Oklahoma Supreme Court held that denial of such a motion is immediately appealable, and remanding case for evidentiary hearing).
· There are lies and damn lies, and then there are statistics
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - October 2012
· Proving the outside sales exemption under FLSA
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - August 2012
· Update on OHRC elimination
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - July 2012
· Employment Law Update " Oklahoma Human Rights Commission ceases operations as of June 30
McAfee & Taft EmployerLINC Employment Law Update - June 18, 2012
· Administrative Agencies: Changes in enforcement of Oklahoma's employment discrimination laws
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - June 2012
· Legal Commentary " Misguided claims of 'hostile' work environment
EmployerLINC. com - May 14, 2012
· It's all about what caused it
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - April 2012
· FLSA: Be careful when classifying your employees
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - February 2012
· Be careful when communicating with medical providers
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - November 2011
· Employment Contracts: Be careful what you say
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - September 2011
· Dispute Resolution: Does an arbitration decision under a CBA bar a later Title VII lawsuit?
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - July 2011
· Oklahoma's employment discrimination laws rewritten
McAfee & Taft EmployerLINC Employment Law Update - May 19, 2011
· The bottom line on the new ADAAA regs
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - May 2011
· Hostile Work Environment: When it comes to sexual harassment, two wrongs don't make a right
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - March 2011
· Disability Discrimination: Disability claims in the new year - be vigilant!
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - January 2011
· Be careful what you test for!
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - December 2010
· Would you like fries with that?
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - August 2010
· Employment arbitration in Oklahoma: Two new cases
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - June 2010
· Using credit checks in the hiring process: A thing of the past?
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - April 2010
· Supervisor training: EEO training makes economic sense even in the worst of times
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - February 2010
· Employer liability: Small employers, beware!
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - December 2009
· When is a job function 'essential' under the ADA?
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - October 2009
· Hostile work environment: Employee who participated in 'give and take' of workplace harassment loses case
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - August 2009
· Packing heat in the workplace: Employees' right to have guns on employer premises
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - April 2009
· Employer retaliation: If you have a clear shot, take it
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - January 2009
· Update on FCRA: New court decision, new FACTA regs
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter - November 2008
In The News
· 'Government Gone Wild' seminar draws record numbers
· Anti-discrimination law revision places limit on lawsuit damages
The Oklahoman - June 3, 2011
· Big changes approach for laws in workplace
The Oklahoman - April 25, 2010
· Small employers are at risk of increased employment cases
The Oklahoman - December 29, 2009
· Americans with Disabilities Act amendments expand protections
The Oklahoman - November 4, 2008
· EEOC addresses unconscious workplace bias
The Journal Record - July 13, 2007
At The Podium
· Oklahoma Employment Law Update presented at EmployerLINC 2013: 'Government Gone Wild' on April 23, 2013 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
· Employment Law Opinions in 2012 presented at "The Tenth Circuit Year in Review" presented by the Federal Bar Association Oklahoma City Chapter on December 28, 2012 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
· Legislative and Regulatory Update: Some Things to Look Forward to in 2013 presented at Oklahoma Bar Association Government and Administrative Law Practice Section CLE Seminar on December 14, 2012 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
· Operation: Sanity! - Dealing with the traps and pitfalls of employee terminations presented at EmployerLINC 2012: 'Adventures in HR' on April 3, 2012 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
· For Better or Worse: Oklahoma Legislature Lays Down New Laws for Employees presented at Oklahoma Bar Association CLE Seminar on October 14, 2011 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
· Take It From the Top: Changes in Employee Law presented at Oklahoma Assisted Living Association Fall Intensive on October 14, 2011 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
· Employment Law - Current Developments presented at National Association of Unemployment Insurance Appellate Boards 2011 Conference on July 12, 2011 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
· Credit Check Dilemma: Follow the Rules, Know the Risks, Reap the Rewards presented at HR Hero Audio Conference on April 26, 2011.
· FMLA Hot Topics: In Loco Parentis, Retaliation and Handling Benefits presented at EmployerLINC 2011 Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Seminar on April 20, 2011 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
· Advanced FLSA Compliance Strategies presented at HR Hero 2011 Wage & Hour Virtual Summit (Online Interactive Conference) on April 12, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee.
· What's New and Hot With the FMLA presented at 2010 Advanced Employment Issues Symposium, Las Vegas on November 11, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
· Employee Privacy: Should I Care? presented at Fall 2010 Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Seminar - Oklahoma City on October 20, 2010 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
· What's New and Hot With the FMLA presented at 2010 Advanced Employment Issues Symposium, Nashville on September 30, 2010.
· Avoiding Pay Policy Errors in 2010 and Beyond presented at Wage & Hour Compliance Virtual Summit on June 17, 2010.
· Military Family Leave presented at HR Hero FMLA Master Class on May 26, 2010 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
· FMLA Compliance Challenges and Solutions presented at HR Hero Master Class on October 2, 2009.
· Oklahoma Employers' ADA Master Class presented at HR Hero Master Class on May 12, 2009.
· EmployerLINC: For Better or Worse - Oklahoma Legislature Lays Down New Laws for Employers
· Downsizing Done Right: A Case Study
Professional Organizations and Memberships
· Oklahoma Bar Association (Former Chair, Labor and Employment Law Section)
· American Bar Association
· Federal Bar Association
Civic Involvement and Leadership
· Chamber of Commerce, Business and Industry Council
· Oklahoma City Metro Employer Council
· Oklahoma State Chamber
· Oklahoma Visual Arts Council
· Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City (Board of Directors)