Nathan L. Whatley

Shareholder

Paralegal: Cynthia McHale
Bio Menu
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Honors & Involvement
Bio overview

Nathan Whatley represents management in all phases of litigation before federal and state courts, regulatory and administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 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 issues arising out of employer/employee relationships.

Nathan has litigated in Oklahoma, Texas, Illinois, California, South Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Kansas and Missouri.

Nathan also routinely counsels clients in connection with employee discipline, terminations and reductions in force; wage and hour issues; handbooks and policies; drug and alcohol programs; executive compensation, employment and non-competition agreements; and individual and group severance programs and related matters. He also provides training to management and non-management employees in all areas affecting the employer/employee relationship and regularly conducts on-site client training in areas such as sexual harassment, drug and alcohol testing, employee leave and disability, and EEOC compliance and investigation.

Nathan is a frequent speaker on a variety of labor and employment topics and has been a guest legal columnist and contributing author to numerous business and professional publications, including The Oklahoman, The Journal Record, Oklahoma Employment Law Letter, HRlaws.com, and EmployerLINC, a legal blog dedicated to employers and workplace issues. He has also been interviewed by local print and broadcast media outlets on matters affecting Oklahoma employers. In addition to having served as editor of the newsletter for the Labor and Employment Law Section of the Oklahoma Bar Association, he has authored white papers for the Society for Human Resource Management and articles for the Oklahoma Law Review and Oklahoma Bar Journal. His major writing credits include authoring and updating Oklahoma Employment Law: Practice and Forms Manual, published by Data Trace Publishing Company since 2010; co-authoring Entertainment and Media Law Client Strategies, published by Aspatore Books in 2007; and serving as a contributing writer to Age Discrimination In The Workplace: A Primer For Human Resource Professionals, published by the Society for Human Resource Management in 1999.

Nathan has previously served as leader of McAfee & Taft’s Labor and Employment Group. His experience and expertise 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, where he has been named to its list of “Top 50 Oklahoma Lawyers.”

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Experience, Honors, & Awards

Representative Experience

  • Nationwide defense of employment litigation and arbitration matters.
  • Representation of employers in litigation relating to employment contracts, commission disputes and non-compete agreements.
  • Representation of employers before the EEOC and various state human rights agencies.
  • Representation of employers in wage and hour and FMLA investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • Representation of employers in individual and class action wage and hour cases.
  • Representation of employers in state wage and hour and unemployment claims.
  • Representation of employers before the National Labor Relations Board.
  • Representation of employers before the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
  • Representation of national retailer in false arrest and related tort actions.
  • Representation of property owners in ADA accessibility actions.
  • Burks v. Oklahoma Publishing Co., 81 F.3d 975 (10th Cir. 1996)
  • Bell v. Dillard Dept. Stores, Inc., 85 F.3d 1451 (10th Cir. 1996)
  • Danner v. Dillard Dept. Stores, Inc., 949 P.2nd 680 (Okla. 1997)
  • Frusher v. Dillard Dept. Stores, Inc., 166 F.3d 1220 (10th Cir. 1998)
  • Gripe v. City of Enid, 213 F.3d 1184 (10th Cir. 2002)
  • Kuykendall v. Gulfstream Aerospace Technologies, 66 P.3d (Okla. 2002)

 

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)
  • Listed in Oklahoma Super Lawyers
  • Named to Oklahoma Super Lawyers’ list of “Top 50 Oklahoma 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 Section)
  • Oklahoma City Metro Employer Council (Executive Board)
  • Sooner Human Resources Society (General Counsel)
  • Society for Human Resource Management

Civic Involvement and Leadership

  • Norman Chamber of Commerce

Attorney Articles

Articles

DOL brings back an old favorite, seeks input on overtime changes

McAfee & Taft EmployerLINC |

Jury slaps AutoZone with $186 million verdict for pregnancy bias

McAfee & Taft EmployerLINC |

Employee who quit during interactive process cannot pursue ADA claim

McAfee & Taft EmployerLINC |

Employer’s quick action bars racial harassment claim

McAfee & Taft EmployerLINC |

Employers must allow employees opportunity to vote

McAfee & Taft EmployerLINC |

Avoiding hidden liabilities with employee housing agreements

McAfee & Taft AgLINC |

OSHA sharpens focus on employer safety incentives and disincentives

McAfee & Taft EmployerLINC |

There’s an app for that

The Journal Record |

Enforcement: Just how aggressive is DOL becoming in its search for wage and hour violations?

Oklahoma Employment Law Letter |

Department of Labor, plaintiffs’ attorneys targeting healthcare industry for FLSA enforcement

McAfee & Taft Healthcare Industry Alert |

Reasonable Accommodation: Bumping temporaries as an accommodation

Oklahoma Employment Law Letter |

DOL issues rule change for workers on farms

McAfee & Taft AgLINC Ag Industry Alert |

Discrimination: ADA ‘association’ claims can be based on a variety of relationships

Oklahoma Employment Law Letter |

Family and medical leave: Lack of good-faith investigation in FMLA case costs employer more than $300k

Oklahoma Employment Law Letter |

Family and Medical Leave: New from the FMLA front

Oklahoma Employment Law Letter |
ATPs display in this column

At The Podium

New Developments in Labor & Employment Law for 2018

Legal Issues in Higher Education Conference
Norman, OK | September 19, 2018

Let’s talk about Marijuana in the Workplace

SoonerHR
Norman, OK | May 8, 2018

Recent Developments in Labor and Employment Law

Oklahoma Chapter of the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources 2018 Spring Conference
Edmond, Oklahoma | April 11, 2018

ADA Reasonable Accommodations: Extended leave, service animals and other tricky issues

EmployerLINC18: Workplace Issues in the News
Oklahoma City, OK | March 27, 2018

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) — Expecting the unexpected from your employees

Lawton Employer Council Meeting
Lawton, Oklahoma | July 18, 2017

Bullies, Exes and Lone Shooters: Getting the drop on workplace violence

EmployerLINC17: Back to Basics
Tulsa, Oklahoma | March 23, 2017

Bullies, Exes and Lone Shooters: Getting the drop on workplace violence

EmployerLINC17: Back to Basics
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | March 22, 2017

Walking the Tightrope of Employee Background Screening — How to Hire the Right Employees without Going Too Far

Oklahoma City Employer Council Meeting
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | October 18, 2016

Guns or No Guns? Weighing workplace weapons policies

2015 Corporate Counsel Seminar
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | December 3, 2015

Drugs at the Workplace

Lawton, Oklahoma | October 20, 2015

The Right Way to Investigate Wrongdoing

Norman, Oklahoma | October 20, 2015

Pro’s and Con’s of Social Media in the Workplace…How does your policy read?

Western Oklahoma Human Resources Organization September Meeting
Weatherford, Oklahoma | September 10, 2015

Employee Drug and Alcohol Testing

Headaches in the Healthcare Workplace Seminar
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | April 30, 2015

Failure to properly structure severance agreements

EmployerLINC 2015: Case studies in costly mistakes
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | April 30, 2015

2015 Labor and Employment Law Update

The Business & Industry Council
Shawnee, Oklahoma | February 25, 2015

Occupational Safety & Health Administration

EmployerLINC 2013: 'Government Gone Wild'
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | April 23, 2013

Employment Law Update 2013

Sooner Human Resources Society
Norman, Oklahoma | January 8, 2013

Legislative and Regulatory Update: Some Things to Look Forward to in 2013

Oklahoma Bar Association Government and Administrative Law Practice Section CLE Seminar
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | December 14, 2012

Avoiding the hazards of workplace safety programs

EmployerLINC Webinar
Online | June 13, 2012

Dodging Bullets — Tips for handling FLSA audits and avoiding other wage and hour surprises

EmployerLINC 2012: ‘Adventures in HR’
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | April 10, 2012

Employer Social Media Policies Under Fire

Enid Society for Human Resource Management
March 8, 2012

Take It From the Top: Changes in Employee Law

Oklahoma Assisted Living Association Fall Intensive
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | October 14, 2011

Walking the Tightrope of Employee Background Screening

Barriers and Bridges: Reframing Your Corporate Culture Conference
August 5, 2011

Wage and Hour Compliance, Employee Classification and Companionship Exemption

Oklahoma Association for Home Care Last Chance Leadership Conference
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | July 20, 2011

Walking the Tightrope of Employee Background Screening: How to Hire the Right Employees Without Going Too Far

OKC Metro Employer Council
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | June 21, 2011, 08:30 - 10:00

Credit Check Dilemma: Follow the Rules, Know the Risks, Reap the Rewards

HR Hero Audio Conference
April 26, 2011, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

FMLA Hot Topics: In Loco Parentis, Retaliation and Handling Benefits

EmployerLINC 2011 Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Seminar
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | April 20, 2011, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Health Care Reform: New Rules, New Laws and What It Means for HR

Fall 2010 Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Seminar - Tulsa
Tulsa, Oklahoma | October 26, 2010, 8:25 AM - 12:00 PM

Regulatory Enforcement on the Rise: Avoiding Wage & Hour Traps and Surviving a DOL Audit

Fall 2010 Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Seminar - Tulsa
Tulsa, Oklahoma | October 26, 2010, 8:25 AM - 12:00 PM

Employee Handbooks: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

2010 Oklahoma Statewide Payroll Conference
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | September 17, 2010

Payroll Law in Oklahoma – The Most Frequently Asked (and Missed) Questions

Oklahoma Bar Association Webcast
Online | June 22, 2010, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Representing Employers Before OSHA in a New Era of Enforcement-Driven Initiatives

Oklahoma Bar Association Webcast
Online | June 8, 2010, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Employment Law Update

LEEB University - Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | October 2, 2009

FMLA Compliance Challenges and Solutions

HR Hero Master Class
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | October 2, 2009
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Admissions:

  • Oklahoma, 1992
  • U.S. District Courts for the Western, Northern and Eastern Districts of Oklahoma
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
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Education:

  • J.D., with highest honors, University of Oklahoma, 1992
    • Order of the Coif; Oklahoma Law Review
  • B.A., with highest honors, University of Oklahoma, 1989
    • Phi Beta Kappa; Golden Key National Honor Society
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In The News

Company, EEOC reach settlement on chronic pulmonary condition case

The Oklahoman | June 5, 2018

Chambers USA 2018 honors McAfee & Taft as top-ranked firm, 35 attorneys singled out for individual honors

May 3, 2018

‘Workplace Issues in the News’ seminar draws record numbers

March 30, 2018

Court dismisses employee suits challenging employer bag inspections

The Oklahoman | December 8, 2017

EEOC sues retailer for alleged misuse of medical exams

The Oklahoman | October 26, 2017

EEOC sues coffee company for firing woman who complained of sexual harassment

The Oklahoman | October 10, 2017

Will the eclipse block out work? Eclipse Fever joins March Madness and Super Bowl Flu

The Oklahoman | August 20, 2017

The Best Lawyers in America names 102 McAfee & Taft attorneys to 2018 edition

August 15, 2017

Justice Department argues sexual orientation discrimination not covered by Civil Rights Act

The Oklahoman | August 2, 2017

Employee lawsuits challenge employers’ English‑only policies

The Oklahoman | July 4, 2017

Survey: Work integral to cancer patients’ well-being

The Oklahoman | June 28, 2017

Budget proposal includes paid family leave for mothers, fathers

The Oklahoman | June 13, 2017

Chambers USA 2017 honors McAfee & Taft as top-ranked firm, 39 McAfee & Taft attorneys as leading lawyers for business

May 26, 2017

Employers saluted for support of National Guard, Reserve

The Oklahoman | April 5, 2017

McAfee & Taft seminar draws large crowds looking for answers about new administration

March 24, 2017

Study: Executive indiscretions can hurt bottom line

The Oklahoman | March 7, 2017

New EEOC fact sheet focuses on acts of religious discrimination

The Oklahoman | August 4, 2016

Chambers USA 2016 honors McAfee & Taft as top-ranked firm, 41 firm attorneys as leading lawyers

May 27, 2016

Lawsuit over background checks brings policy changes for BMW

The Oklahoman | September 16, 2015

Jury awards almost $186 million for pregnancy discrimination claim

The Oklahoman | August 18, 2015

EEOC files lawsuit against UPS on religious discrimination claims

The Oklahoman | July 22, 2015

Annual seminar offers employers real-world examples of costly, common mistakes

May 1, 2015

Employees’ paycheck selfies can open accounts to thefts

The Oklahoman | November 25, 2014

Some firms consider ways to allow guns in workplace for safety

The Oklahoman | September 30, 2014

Survey says: Columnist is right for her job

The Oklahoman | April 16, 2014

‘Government Gone Wild’ seminar draws record numbers

April 29, 2013

Oklahoma employers have flexibility in banning, controlling firearms

The Oklahoman | February 26, 2013

Distracted driving on the clock

The Oklahoman | September 18, 2012

Firm hosts webinar on workplace safety programs after OSHA memo discourages safety incentives

June 6, 2012

More Oklahoma businesses plan to ban smoking on premises

The Oklahoman | June 26, 2011

Employers can penalize, fire workers for weather‑related absences

The Oklahoman | February 9, 2011

ADA reasonable accommodations test may not include temp jobs

The Oklahoman | September 21, 2010

Health care reform bill requires break time for nursing mothers

The Oklahoman | August 13, 2010

Men making more harassment complaints, statistics show

The Oklahoman | June 11, 2010

Returning active duty employees entitled to similar jobs

The Oklahoman | May 30, 2010

Department of Labor rules place limitations on employment of unpaid interns, teens

The Oklahoman | May 2, 2010

Oklahoma may follow IRS effort to identify misclassified workers

The Oklahoman | April 16, 2010

Policies for military family leave must be in compliance with law

The Oklahoman | January 21, 2010

Nathan Whatley featured in Fox 25 news story, “Your rights in the workplace”

KOKH-TV/Fox 25 Newscast | August 10, 2009

Bad economy good for employment law

The Journal Record | March 17, 2009

Oklahoma Supreme Court decision could affect awarded damages

The Oklahoman | January 23, 2009

State law requires that workers have ample time to cast ballots

The Oklahoman | November 2, 2008

Court decision may mean changes to Family Leave Act

The Oklahoman | June 24, 2008

Employment Attorney Nathan Whatley Discourages Workplace Relationships

Sunday Oklahoman | December 16, 2007

Nathan Whatley to Address Employer Issues Arising from Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007

November 12, 2007

Employers must accept eligibility documents to avoid lawsuits

The Oklahoman | June 21, 2006

Nathan Whatley quoted in Oklahoman article on the Family and Medical Leave Act

The Oklahoman | October 30, 2005
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