Tony Puckett represents management in all aspects of labor and employment law. His practice involves counseling employers in employment issues and representing employers in discrimination cases, wrongful discharge cases, wage and hour actions, charges investigated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigations, National Labor Relations Board proceedings, union negotiations and arbitrations. In addition to representing private employers, Tony also represents municipalities in all areas of labor relations, including collective bargaining negotiations, grievance and interest arbitrations, unfair labor practice proceedings, and civil rights employment actions.
Tony’s 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. He was named by Best Lawyers as “Oklahoma City Labor Lawyer of the year (Management)” in 2014 and 2016.
Tony is a frequent speaker at seminars and institutes on employment law issues in the public and private sectors. He has also presented sessions at the Annual Labor Management Conference, sponsored by the National Academy of Arbitrators Southwest Region, and the International Personnel Management Association.
He is also the author of numerous articles, including “Supreme Court Broadens Liability for Sexual Harassment”, Oklahoma Bar Journal (8/98); “Supreme Court Decides Same-Sex Sexual Harassment Issue,” Oklahoma Bar Journal (4/25/98); and “Reviewing the State’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Act,” Oklahoma Cities and Towns (2/28/99). He also co-authored Age of Discrimination in the Workplace: A Primer for Human Resource Professionals, published by the Society of Human Resource Management Foundation, and was a contributing author to the sixth edition of How Arbitration Works, published by BNA.
Tony served as the leader of the firm’s Labor & Employment Group from 2005 - 2007.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of a manufacturing employer in a case in which the 11 employee plaintiffs sought overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act for having to wear pagers while on call.
- Negotiated a favorable settlement for a hotel operator accused of denying leave and retaliation under the Family Medical Leave Act. The employer claimed it did not meet the provisions of the FMLA which mandate coverage and liability, and the settlement was negotiated without the Department of Labor reaching any formal finding of coverage or liability.
- Advised a large construction agency on contesting a citation issued by the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA), which sought to enforce a new interpretation of an existing construction standard.
- Successfully represented a municipality in two civil service appeals of discharges of long-term employees. Both appeals were upheld by the civil service board.
- Obtained a jury verdict in favor of national restaurant chain in a race discrimination case.
- Obtained a jury verdict in favor of electrical contractor in a sexual harassment case.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of home builder in a case involving race and age discrimination and Equal Pay Act claims.
- Obtained a jury verdict in favor of a national bakery in a Fair Labor Standards Act case concerning the exemption of an outside salesperson.
- Obtained a favorable arbitration decision for a national retailer in an employment arbitration age discrimination claim.
- Obtained a jury verdict in favor of a hospital on age discrimination claims arising from a reduction in force.
- Successfully defended before the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission’s (OESC) Appeal Tribunal an Oklahoma employer against a claim for unemployment benefits by a former employee who was discharged for failing a random drug test which complied with the Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act.
- Represented employers in more than 130 labor arbitrations on a variety of issues, including discharge, discipline, contract interpretation and new contract terms.
- Advised multiple cities on the statutory requirements for calling and holding special municipal elections regarding collective bargaining agreements.
- Handled dozens of labor negotions for employers as chief spokesperson.
- Successfully defended a national staffing company against an unfair labor practice charge in which an ex-employee alleged he was terminated for engaging in protected activities involving the use of social media. The National Labor Relations Board dismissed the charge upon finding the company had a legitimate business purpose for its policies, the employee clearly violated its Internet usage policy, and that the company had a history of consistently applying its policies to all employees.
- Successfully prosecuted a declaratory judgment action for a city which challenged a discharge grievance filed by a union on behalf of a probationary employee.
- Vacated labor arbitration decision on management rights authority of the employer, a large manufacturer. The arbitration decision denied the employer’s authority to issue a revised work rule. Represented the employer at the district court level in obtaining summary judgment vacating the arbitrator’s decision and at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals which upheld the summary judgment issued by the district court.
- Advised a beverage distributor on union avoidance strategies to defeat a union petition to represent drivers. The employer won the union election.
- Successfully argued to a federal district court and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate a labor arbitrator’s decision reinstating an employee terminated by a food industry client for refusing to answer a page while on-call. The court agreed that the arbitrator’s decision exceeded his authority and rewrote the collective bargaining agreement.
Honors and Awards
- Listed in the Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business
- Selected by peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America (employment law – management; labor law – management; labor and employment litigation)
- Named “Oklahoma City Labor Lawyer of the Year (Management)” in 2014 and 2016 by The Best Lawyers in America
- Listed in Oklahoma Super Lawyers
- Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings
Professional Organizations and Memberships
- Oklahoma County Bar Association
- Oklahoma Bar Association (Former Chair, Labor & Employment Law Section)
- American Bar Association (Labor & Employment Section; State & Local Government Bargaining Committee)
- Federal Bar Association
- Oklahoma Association of Municipal Attorneys
- Society for Human Resource Management
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg Inn of Court (Barrister, 1998 – 2000)
Civic Involvement and Leadership
- Oklahoma City Public Schools (Volunteer Tutor)
- McAfee & Taft Foundation (Former Trustee)
Gavel to Gavel: Training key to compliance
The Journal Record | May 19, 2016
Facebook ‘like’ considered protected activity
EmployerLINC | November 11, 2015
New union election rules yield much quicker elections
EmployerLINC | June 22, 2015
President vetoes resolution to block new NLRB election rules
EmployerLINC | April 6, 2015
U.S. Senate blocks NLRB’s ‘ambush election’ rule; resolution now goes to House
EmployerLINC | March 6, 2015
OFCCP proposes updated regulations on discrimination on the basis of sex
EmployerLINC | March 2, 2015
NLRB ruling on ‘ambush’ elections poses real threat to non-unionized workplaces
EmployerLINC Law Alert | December 18, 2014
Labor Board ruling has far-reaching impact on employers and workplace policies
EmployerLINC Law Alert | December 16, 2014
Care for parent leads to firing
EmployerLINC | November 11, 2014
She “tweeted” what?!
EmployerLINC.com | February 4, 2014
Workplace bullying on the rise
The Journal Record | November 21, 2013
The changing face of labor issues
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter | March 2013
Examining NLRB rulings
The Journal Record | February 7, 2013
Sexual orientation and reverse discrimination
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter | August 2012
The Journal Record | March 22, 2012
Doing the right thing part of the time is not enough
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter | February 2012
What's age got to do with it?
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter | May 2011
PLANT CLOSINGS: Health Benefits for Life?
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter | May 2010
Sexting 101 for employers
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter | December 2009
Age discrimination: Tenth Circuit allows pattern-or-practice claims under ADEA
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter | October 2009
Hiring: Subjective evaluations done right!
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter | July 2009
Termination: Employer’s patience and persistence pays off
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter | April 2009
EEOC Guidance: Answer to employers' prayers? New religious discrimination guidelines
Oklahoma Employment Law Letter | October 2008
In The News
August 15, 2017
The Oklahoman | June 6, 2017
Chambers USA 2017 honors McAfee & Taft as top-ranked firm, 39 McAfee & Taft attorneys as leading lawyers for businessMay 26, 2017
March 24, 2017
May 27, 2016
August 24, 2015
Annual seminar offers employers real-world examples of costly, common mistakes
May 1, 2015
Employers lose time to get votes against union campaign with rule
The Oklahoman | December 24, 2014
Labor Board changes ruling on company email use for unionizing
The Oklahoman | December 17, 2014
Annual seminar continues to draw more employers with timely practical guidance
April 18, 2014
‘Government Gone Wild’ seminar draws record numbers
April 29, 2013
Employers are required to offer reasonable accommodations
The Oklahoman | April 25, 2012
Financial reform legislation also targets diversity in workplace
The Oklahoman | November 17, 2010
Social networks causing employee-employer issues
Tulsa World | May 7, 2010
New federal trade commission rules may affect employees
The Oklahoman | March 3, 2010
The Oklahoman | October 11, 2009
H1N1 flu virus workplace rules now available for employers
The Oklahoman | September 11, 2009
At The Podium
HR Break Room: Paycom PodcastOnline | October 24, 2017
2017 Oklahoma Labor/Management ConferenceMidwest City, OK | April 20, 2017
EmployerLINC17: Back to BasicsTulsa, Oklahoma | March 23, 2017
EmployerLINC17: Back to BasicsOklahoma City, Oklahoma | March 22, 2017
Western Oklahoma Human ResourcesWeatherford, OK | March 9, 2017
National Academy of Arbitrators 40th Annual Labor-Management ConferenceDallas, Texas | February 17, 2017
17th Annual Oklahoma Labor/Management ConferenceOklahoma City, Oklahoma | April 30, 2015
EmployerLINC 2015: Case studies in costly mistakesOklahoma City, Oklahoma | April 30, 2015
Failure to maintain accurate job descriptions
EmployerLINC 2015: Case studies in costly mistakesTulsa, Oklahoma | April 28, 2015
EmployerLINC 2014: In Compliance, Out of CourtTulsa, Oklahoma | April 17, 2014
EmployerLINC 2014: In Compliance, Out of CourtOklahoma City, Oklahoma | April 16, 2014
Creeping Legalism: What's An Advocate To Do?
National Academy of Arbitrators Southwest Region’s 37th Annual Labor Management ConferenceDallas, Texas | February 28, 2014
Employment Law Update
OPHRA 2013 Winter Quarterly Training ConferenceOklahoma City, Oklahoma | December 6, 2013
Fair Labor Standards Act
Central Oklahoma Human Resources Association MeetingShawnee, Oklahoma | August 15, 2013
Executive Law and Compliance
American Chamber of Commerce Executives ConventionOklahoma City, Oklahoma | July 26, 2013
New Developments: Collective Bargaining and Employment Law
Oklahoma Municipal League Employment Law SeminarMidwest City, Oklahoma | July 19, 2013
Oklahoma Workers’ Comp Reform Update
Ardmore Personnel Roundtable Monthly MeetingArdmore, Oklahoma | July 18, 2013
National Labor Relations Board
EmployerLINC 2013: 'Government Gone Wild'Tulsa, Oklahoma | April 26, 2013
National Labor Relations Board
EmployerLINC 2013: 'Government Gone Wild'Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | April 23, 2013
Oklahoma Municipal League Employment SeminarMidwest City, Oklahoma | July 13, 2012
Avoiding the ADA Abyss — How to interactively accommodate, deal with employee drug use, and know when to use fit-for-duty evaluations
EmployerLINC 2012: ‘Adventures in HR’Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | April 10, 2012
Employment Law — Current Developments
National Association of Unemployment Insurance Appellate Boards 2011 ConferenceOklahoma City, Oklahoma | July 12, 2011
Presenting and Defending a Discipline or Discharge Case
National Academy of Arbitrators Southwest Region Advocates and Arbitrators Training ProgramDallas, Texas | March 3, 2011, 1:30 PM - 3:45 PM
When You Need Medical Information About Your Employee
Fall 2010 Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Seminar - TulsaTulsa, Oklahoma | October 26, 2010, 8:25 AM - 12:00 PM
When You Need Medical Information About Your Employee
Fall 2010 Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Seminar - Oklahoma CityOklahoma City, Oklahoma | October 20, 2010, 8:25 AM - 12:00 PM
Independent Contractor Issues
Spring 2010 Labor & Employment and Employee Benefits SeminarOklahoma City, Oklahoma | May 26, 2010, 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Independent Contractor Issues
Spring 2010 Labor & Employment and Employee Benefits SeminarTulsa, Oklahoma | May 19, 2010, 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Sex and the Cell Phone: Update Your Policies for New Forms of Harassment
HR Hero Audio ConferenceMarch 31, 2010, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM