The Employer's Legal Resource: Employment Security Commission Gives Tips on Unemployment Insurance Appeals
Last month, Ed Evans, the Chief Hearing Officer for the Unemployment Insurance Appellate Division of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, was in Tulsa for a presentation to the Tulsa Area Employer Council. The presentation, titled "26 Ways to Avoid Losing Your Unemployment Insurance Appeal," was designed to help guide employers through the unemployment insurance appeal process and provided useful tips for winning an appeal.
The first and most stressed tip was to ensure that you properly respond to the initial claim or appeal the determination of benefits. Responses to the initial claim and appeals of the determination of benefits must be filed within 10 days of the mailing date of the initial claim or the Commission's initial determination or ruling. The mailing date can be found on the initial claim or notice of determination. If you elected to receive notice by electronic means, look for the date of transmission. See June ELR discussion. Responses and appeals may be hand-delivered, mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to the Commission. Furthermore, the response or appeal should contain detailed information which renders the claimant disqualified from benefits, renders the claimant ineligible for benefits, or relieves the employer of benefit wage charges.
The second tip provided was to adequately prepare for the hearing before the appeal referee. After appealing a determination, an appeal referee will give fair and adequate time for a hearing on the issues. For good cause, the hearing may be continued, but a request must be made in writing and in advance of the hearing date. Evans stressed that it was important to prepare for the hearing well in advance of the actual date. This includes analyzing the case, discussing the case and issues with key witnesses, requesting the issuance of subpoenas for witnesses, ensuring that the key witnesses are present for the hearing, compiling and reviewing the key documents, and summarizing extensive materials. Additionally, Evans stressed not to coerce or lead your own witnesses and to refrain from arguing with an opposing witness during cross-examination.
Ultimately the unemployment insurance appeal process is a simple one that can be navigated with little stress if employers understand the process, act quickly, and are prepared.
For more information, click here to view the Commission's slides and handout. Additionally, our labor and employment group is always available to help you with any unemployment insurance issues.
By Kenneth T. Short, firstname.lastname@example.org