OPEA Looking At Options Following Judge’s Decision

The Oklahoma Public Employees Association is disappointed in Monday’s Court of Civil Appeals’ ruling reversing an earlier court decision preventing the Oklahoma Military Department from moving its employees from classified employment status to unclassified. OPEA said it would consider asking for a review by the Oklahoma Supreme Court after the analysis of the judge’s ruling is completed by its attorneys.

Under Oklahoma’s merit system, an agency may terminate unclassified employees for any reason but must apply a corrective discipline process to classified employees before they are terminated.

OPEA had filed the suit on behalf of its members who could potentially lose their classified employment status due to legislative action making all new positions at the agency unclassified. The association believes positions at the military department should be classified to prevent political patronage in hiring decisions and to protect employees like law enforcement officers from outside influence when carrying out their duties.

“We are currently evaluating the judge’s ruling to determine what our next step may be,” said Sterling Zearley, OPEA executive director. “Our members at the military department must be able to do their job without fear of losing it because they take an action that is not popular with someone.”

The Oklahoma Public Employees Association is a voluntary organization comprised of state employees and retirees across Oklahoma whose mission is to improve state employment.


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