Sam R. Fulkerson

Office Managing Shareholder || Oklahoma City

Sam Fulkerson represents management exclusively in all areas of employment law. Much of his practice is devoted to counseling clients on best practices in the workplace and routinely involves the training of management and hourly employees; counseling on disciplinary, organizational and general business issues; legal compliance, including hiring practices, employee classification and wage issues; policy drafting and implementation, including multi-state employer policies, drug testing, and dispute resolution programs; resolution of issues arising from reorganizations, reductions-in-force, mergers, sales, acquisitions and board disputes; and workplace investigations, including those involving claims of sexual and racial harassment, as well as employee, management and board misconduct.

As part of his litigation practice, Sam represents employers in all phases of litigation before federal and state trial and appellate courts as well as federal and state agencies. His extensive agency experience includes defending numerous clients before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Department of Labor regarding alleged violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, and Occupational Safety and Health Act, including OSHA whistleblower claims.

Sam’s litigation experience includes the defense of discrimination, interference and retaliation claims; class actions; collective actions under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (both disparate treatment and disparate impact claims) and FLSA (including overtime, donning/doffing and Motor Carrier exemption claims); enforcement of non-competition, confidentiality, trade secret, intellectual property and employment agreements; and obtaining and defending against injunctive relief.

In the last three years, Sam has been lead counsel in lawsuits in federal district court in Atlanta, Nashville, Brownsville, Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Chicago, Phoenix, San Diego, and New Mexico, including as lead counsel in six FLSA collective actions; the state courts of Florida, Tennessee, Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma and California; and administrative agencies in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, California, Oregon and Washington. Sam also has experience in mediating and arbitrating employment disputes before the American Arbitration Association, the EEOC, and in federal court.

Sam’s non-litigation practice also includes representation of legislative bodies and special interest groups, and he frequently drafts proposed legislation and reviews legislative proposals for constitutionality, especially those laws affecting the workplace, the employment relationship, and employer interests.

Sam trains and lectures frequently on employment law topics in Oklahoma and elsewhere, has published scholarly articles in the Oklahoma Law Review and the Society for Human Resource Management Legal Report, and was the primary author of “Age Discrimination in the Workplace: A Primer for Human Resource Professionals,” Society for Human Resource Management.

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), which also selected him as “Oklahoma City Employment Litigation Lawyer of the Year” for 2012 and “Oklahoma City Labor Lawyer of the Year (Management)” for 2015 and 2017; and Oklahoma Super Lawyers, which also has named him to its list of “Top 50 Oklahoma Lawyers” each year since 2012.

Learn more about Sam R. Fulkerson
  • Successfully defended large multinational energy services company in arbitration challenging the employer’s drug testing policy under the Oklahoma Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act.
  • Obtained dismissal of workers’ compensation retaliatory discharge claim in an action brought by a former energy company employee challenging the constitutionality of a provision of Oklahoma’s recently enacted Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act. In its ruling, the court held that the Workers’ Compensation Commission has exclusive jurisdiction over workers’ compensation retaliatory discharge claims, and that the Act is constitutional.
  • Represented the interests of the State Chamber of Oklahoma as amicus curiae before the Oklahoma Supreme Court in an action challenging the constitutionality of the privatization of the state workers’ compensation fund. The fund’s privatization was a key part of reforming the entire state workers’ comp system, and the Chamber’s position was adopted by the court in an opinion relying significantly on arguments and authorities presented in the brief.
  • Representation of venture capital group in combining multiple energy-related companies located across Oklahoma and Texas into single organization, with related redundancy, employee classification, wage and management issues, and agency investigations.
  • Representation of national pipeline services company in nationwide DOL investigation of employee classification and overtime issues, and application of FLSA’s 13(b)(1) Motor Carrier exemption and application of the “four month rule.”
  • Representation of durable medical equipment supplier in obtaining temporary retraining order in Ohio against former national sales manager who improperly retained and used confidential information and also violated non-solicitation agreement; and, in obtaining preliminary injunction in Texas against physicians practice for improperly steering patients to a competitor.
  • Representation of tribal-owned government contractor companies, including general consulting, issues related to government subpoenas and investigations, False Claims Act whistleblower claims, and litigation related to joint ventures.
  • Representation of Oklahoma Department of Tourism in lawsuit by Oklahoma Public Employees Union challenging denial of severance and retirement benefits in reduction-in-force.
  • National representation of temporary staffing company, including wage/hour collective action and FLSA’s 13(b)(1) exemption to loaders and sorters in the trucking and distribution industry.
  • Representation of national manufacturing and distribution company into allegations of sexual misconduct and favoritism by C-level executives.
  • Representation of hybrid public/private non-profit economic development agency in investigation and removal of executive director for financial impropriety and substance abuse.
  • Representation of multiple non-profit boards in executive director misconduct investigations, and executive searches.
  • Representation of Oklahoma State Senate in employment, compliance and training issues.
  • Representation of the State Chamber of Oklahoma in legislative initiatives and related constitutionality reviews, including significant revisions of Oklahoma’s Anti-Discrimination Act, drug and alcohol testing statute, unemployment law statute, and workers’ compensation statute.
  • Lead counsel for national temporary staffing company in sexual harassment/gender discrimination case in federal court jury trial in Western District of Oklahoma in August 2012.
  • Lead counsel for steel fabrication company in gender discrimination and FMLA interference/retaliation case in federal court jury trial in October 2013.

Representative Cases 1993-2013:

  • 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 anti-discrimination statute).
  • Cole v. Halliburton Co., 6 Wage & Hour Cas. 2d 990 (W.D. Okla., Sep 06, 2000) (enforceability of arbitration agreement).
  • 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) (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 (disqualification of opposing counsel, and related appellate procedure).


  • J.D., with honors, University of Oklahoma, 1991
  • M.A., with honors, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1985
  • B.A., with distinction, University of Oklahoma, 1982

Admittance to Practice

  • Oklahoma
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern, Northern and Western Districts of Oklahoma
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth and Tenth Circuits
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Professional Activities

  • Oklahoma Bar Association (Former Chair, Labor and Employment Law Section)
  • American Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Chamber of Commerce, Business and Industry Council
  • Oklahoma City Metro Employer Council
  • Oklahoma State Chamber
  • Oklahoma Visual Arts Council
  • Scissortail Community Development Corporation (Board of Directors)
  • Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City (Board of Directors)


  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "C-Suite Complaints: Strategies for Navigating Claims From Senior Executives" - Phoenix - May 10, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "The Ultimate Exit Interview Checklist" - San Diego - May 5, 2017
  • Chambers USA Guide to American’s Leading Lawyers for Business
  • The Best Lawyers in America (employment law – management; labor law – management; labor and employment litigation)
  • Oklahoma City Employment Litigation Lawyer of the Year (2012) and Oklahoma City Labor Lawyer of the Year (Management) (2015 and 2017) by The Best Lawyers in America
  • Oklahoma Super Lawyers
  • Oklahoma Super Lawyers’ list of Top 50 Oklahoma Lawyers
  • Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings
  • ABA-affiliated International Who’s Who of Management Labour & Employment Lawyers (2011-2013)
  • Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City’s Board Member of the Year (2013)
  • The Journal Record’s Leadership in Law Award, recognizing legal professionals with their professional and civic contributions to the state (2011)