Oklahoma, like other states, has a safety net in place for employees who have recently lost their jobs through no fault of their own. This can happen when an employee is fired because the company is downsizing. There are rules to determine unemployment benefits eligibility. In Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) administers all unemployment claims within the state.
Unemployment Benefits Eligibility Issues
All unemployment benefit claims are decided on a case-by-case basis. That means that the facts of an individual case are important to the outcome of the case. Unemployment benefits eligibility issues usually fall in one of three areas:
Employee Has Not Earned The Minimum Amount in Wages That Is Required
Oklahoma looks to the prior base year period to determine if a claimant has earned enough in wages to qualify. In Oklahoma, the base period is the earliest four of the five complete calendar quarters before you filed your benefits claim. OESC § 1-202; Okla. Stat. tit. 40 § 1-202. During that base period, a claimant must have earned at least $1,500 and the claimant must have earned at least 1.5 times his or her earnings in the highest paid quarter of the period.
Employee Fails to Meets the Requirement of Becoming Unemployed Through No Fault of Their Own
To be eligible to receive unemployment benefits, a claimant must be out of work through no fault of their own. People separate from their jobs for varying reasons. They can be laid off because of downsizing or other employer issues unrelated to a claimant’s job performance. An employee can also be fired or voluntarily quit.
Being laid off because of downsizing or other employer caused issue, will generally allow the claimant to be eligible for benefits.
In general, if you voluntarily quit, you are not allowed to collect benefits unless there is good cause to leave. OESC § 2-404, Okla. Stat. tit. 40 § 2-404. A hostile work environment is a good cause under the statute, as is sexual or other harassment. Quitting because of unsafe conditions in the workplace generally will not bar a claim either.
If an employer substantially alters the contract after an employee is hired, voluntarily quitting may not bar the employee from collecting benefits, depending on the circumstances.
All of these cases are fact-bound and the law is complex. If you have questions, it is best to hire an experienced unemployment attorney to help you sort out the facts of your claim.
Employee is not Available to Work Or Is Not Actively Seeking Work
To continue to remain eligible, an employee must actively seek work and must accept suitable work if it is offered. The issue of suitability can be a complicated one based on a number of factors. Again, if you have questions about any of these areas, it is best to seek the counsel of an experienced unemployment expert.
Free Legal Consultation With An Experienced Unemployment Attorney
To set up your free consultation with the Oklahoma Unemployment Experts law office, call (918) 923-3776 or click the button below to sign up for a no-obligation unemployment consultation now.