By Attorney Earl Lawson
First, do not panic. Most unemployment benefits are denied on the first inquiry. Benefits are more often granted on appeal.
Oklahoma requires that a claim for unemployment must be made within 10 days from separation from employment. If your claim is denied, you must call the OESC and tell them you would like to appeal their decision. Before you do that, you will do well to contact an unemployment lawyer to learn about your unemployment rights.
It is important that you make the claim within the time frame given, because the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission is very strict on this deadlines and seldom if ever makes allowances. Legal representation is not required at this point, but it is highly recommended in order to have a legal reason for appealing in mind. Oklahoma law states that you may hire an attorney to represent you during this process.
I urge every person to file for their unemployment benefits whether you feel you are justified or not, because there are strict guidelines an employer must follow in terminating an employee from their employment. Even if the employee voluntarily left their employment, there may be justifiable reasons for leaving their employment. There are many circumstances where you can get unemployment if you quit your job.
The reason you voluntarily quit must be one of those that are covered under Oklahoma unemployment requirements as reasonable cause of quitting a job. If Oklahoma unemployment requirements say you left a job for good cause, you likely qualify for unemployment benefits.
Be sure to ask an Oklahoma unemployment attorney what qualifies under those guidelines.
Most unemployment claims for benefits are denied by the employer. The State of Oklahoma basically rewards employers for denying unemployment claims by basing unemployment insurance premiums on the number of claims that are paid out to the employees that terminated from the employer. The amount of unemployment insurance premiums that an employer pays out is set on a yearly basis. If an employer has few claims on the insurance for that year, then the premiums for the following year is set low.
If an employer has a large number of employees that are paid unemployment benefits the higher the employer’s premiums for the following year. If an employer denies all claims made by employees that are separated from employment with them, the lower his insurance premiums with be for the following year. Thus, the employer is rewarded for denying all claims, whether it is due to the employee’s misconduct or not.
Yet, if your unemployment claim was denied, that does not mean you will not get unemployment benefits. Many if not most unemployment claims are denied by the OESC when the job seeker first files for unemployment. For the employer, it is as easy as scrawling on a form letter that the employer was fired for cause. The real test comes in the unemployment appeals process. Unemployment attorneys routinely demonstrate that an employers claims are without merit.
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