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Information For Appeal Hearings And Decisions

 

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Contents

 

Equal Opportunity Employer Program.
Auxiliary aids and services are available upon requests, to individuals with disabilities

 

Steps For Preparing For Your Hearing

  1. Carefully read this information and any correspondence you receive from the Commission or the Appeal Tribunal.
  2. Be aware of deadlines for filing requests and documents to be used at your hearing. If you have documents you want to use at the hearing, send them right away.
  3. Evaluate and prepare your side of the story. Are there documents you want to use or witnesses you want present at the hearing?
  4. During your hearing; Listen carefully. Take notes of statements made which you want to ask questions about or respond to when you testify.
  5. Offer exhibits. Ask that the documents you want considered be entered into the record of the hearing.
  6. If you bring witnesses, chose people who have first hand knowledge of what you want them to testify about.
  7. FINAL STATEMENTS. Think about the evidence and testimony presented. Tell the Hearing Officer at the end of hearing what you think is important and why they should rule in your favor.

 

Date, Time and Place of Hearing

The date, time and place of your hearing will be shown on the Notice of Hearing. A telephone hearing may be scheduled. You should register for your hearing by signing in online or calling in for a telephone hearing, or by arriving for a scheduled in-person hearing at least 10 minutes before the scheduled time, and tell the receptionist that you are ready for the hearing. Please BE PROMPT. Once you have called in, be ready for the Hearing Officer to call and start the hearing.

You may be asked for the claimant's name, social security number, the case number and the date and place of the hearing. The Appeal Tribunal should be notified immediately of any address changes. (All address changes must be in writing. No changes can be made over the telephone.)

Claimants: If you are still unemployed, continue to file claims as instructed while the appeal is pending.

 

Postponements

A request made to the Appeal Tribunal for a different time, date or place of hearing will not be granted unless you can show good cause. Examples of good cause include if a party, necessary witness or attorney representing a party cannot attend the hearing because of a disabling personal illness, jury duty, or death in the immediate family. If an attorney must appear in a court of superior jurisdiction, that may constitute good cause. Failure to make a timely effort to get an attorney is not good cause for granting a continuance. OAC 240:10-13- 37.

Any request for a continuance must be made in writing. A request for continuance may be faxed to our offices at (405) 601-3337. OAC 240:10-13-38. Your request must be received by the Appeal Tribunal, at least four days before the scheduled hearing. You should assume a request has not been granted unless notified by the Appeal Tribunal.

If an emergency arises immediately before the hearing and you are unable to attend, please call the Appeal Tribunal immediately at (405) 601-3311. A request for a continuance may also be made at the time of the hearing. The Hearing Officer will rule immediately on the record, and will usually should set the continued case for a date and time certain. OAC 240:10-13-38.

Attorneys who cannot attend the hearing because of a conflicting court date may be asked to submit an affidavit to the Director of Appeals explaining in detail the time conflict at least four days before the scheduled hearing.

 

The Importance of the Hearing

The Hearing Officer will decide the appeal based on sworn and recorded testimony given by the parties and witnesses during the hearing, along with any written documents entered into the record at the time of the hearing. Only issues raised prior to the hearing will be considered.

 

Attendance of Witnesses

A witness should be a person with first-hand knowledge of the situation, someone who was present and saw or heard what happened. If you want a witness to testify, arrange for the witness to attend the hearing voluntarily and follow the directions on the Notice of Hearing for notifying the Appeal Tribunal of the witnesses intent to participate. A continuance will not usually be granted based solely on unavailable witnesses.

If a witness lives in a location too far to commute to Oklahoma City, and if the hearing is scheduled as an in-person hearing arrangements may be made to obtain the testimony by telephone at the scheduled hearing. Such a request should be made immediately to the Appeal Tribunal upon the receipt of the Notice of Hearing. OAC 240:10-13-60.

 

Requesting Subpoenas

If the witness refuses to attend the hearing voluntarily, you may request in writing that the clerk of the Appeal Tribunal issue a subpoena. That request must contain: 

  1. The case number, date and location of the hearing, 
  2. The name and home address of the witness and
  3. A brief summary of expected testimony of each witness or the records requested from each witness.

Any request for subpoena(s) must be received by the Appeal Tribunal at least five days before the date of the scheduled hearing. The request should be mailed to the clerk of the Appeal Tribunal. The hearing will not be postponed if a witness cannot attend unless there is good cause as defined above (see Postponements).

 

Getting And Submitting Records for the Hearing

If someone else has a document or record that you need for your case, you may ask the Appeal Tribunal to issue a subpoena for the document or records. The document or records should be relevant to the case. The request must be received at least five days before the date of the scheduled hearing and must contain:

  1. The docket number, date and location of the hearing,
  2. A description of the document or records so they can be easily identified. You must tell in specific detail why they are needed for your case.
  3. The name and address of the person who now has the document. OAC 240:10-13-60.

The parties to the appeal should mail all documents necessary to support their position to the Tribunal to be copied and mailed to the opposing party. All documents should be mailed to the Tribunal immediately upon receipt of the Notice of Appeal or Notice of Appeal. Documents received fewer than five (5) days prior to the hearing may or may not be considered based on the reasons and effect of a late submission. The date of the hearing does not count as one of the five days. To improve the chances that a late-submitted document will be considered, you may wish to send it to the opposing party at the address to which the hearing notice was sent and to indicate in your submitted documents that you have done so. Both sides will be mailed copies of the records submitted by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission unless the submission indicates that it was sent to the other party.

Parties who intend to introduce records into evidence should send copies of the document(s) to the Appeal Tribunal, but should be able to provide the originals if they are needed. You should bring a witness who can explain how the records were prepared to the hearing.
Parties submitting audio, video, or electronic images as evidence must do so in standard formats. The evidence must be provided in a manner that can be reviewed without special codecs or software. The standard formats are:

  • Video: MP4, MP2, AVI, ASF, and DVDs that can be played in a standard DVD player
  • Audio: MP3, CDA, and WAV
  • Electronic Images: JPG, TIF, Adobe Acrobat (PDF), and BMP

 

Failure to Attend the Hearing

If a party fails to appear at the scheduled hearing, testimony may be taken from the appearing party, and the case will be decided based on the records and testimony introduced at the hearing. If neither party appears, the case will be decided based on the available information. If an absent party can show there was good cause, due to circumstances beyond their control, for failing to appear, the case may be reopened, providing the absent party notifies the Appeal Tribunal in writing, by letter or by FAX letter, within ten days after the date the decision is mailed. The FAX number for the Appeal Tribunal is (405) 601-3337. The letter will be reviewed to determine whether it should be set for another hearing in order to determine whether there was good cause for not appearing at the original hearing. Both parties will be notified when the next hearing will be, and both parties should attend. OAC 240:10-13-40.

 

Late Appeals

If you did not file your appeal within 10 calendar days after the local office determination was mailed, you must show good cause due to circumstances beyond your control for the delay in filing your appeal (40 O.S. Sec. 2-614). A hearing will be scheduled to determine if good cause can be shown. If good cause cannot be shown, your appeal will be dismissed. You should be prepared to explain at the hearing why your appeal was filed late. If the tenth day of your appeal time falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, your appeal will be accepted as timely if filed on the next following workday.

 

Withdrawal of Appeal

The appellant may withdraw the appeal by written request to the Appeal Tribunal at any time before the hearing or before a decision is issued. The case may also be withdrawn by oral request at the time of the hearing. OAC 240:10-13-41.

 

Your Rights at the Hearing

Each party has the following rights:

  1. To testify on their own behalf;
  2. To be represented by lawyer or other representative your choosing;
  3. To present documents and records;
  4. To question your own and the opposing parties witnesses;
  5. To explain or rebut evidence against you;
  6. To object to testimony or documents offered by the opposing party;
  7. To request a continuance when surprised by a new issue or unexpected evidence;
  8. To state at the end of the hearing how the evidence and the law supports your position.

 

Conduct of the Hearing

The Hearing Officer has the sole authority for the conduct of the hearing. In conducting the hearing, the Hearing Officer shall:

  1. Explain the issues and the meanings of terms the parties do not understand;
  2. Explain the order in which persons will testify, ask questions and give rebuttal;
  3. Help parties in asking questions of other witnesses;
  4. Question parties and witnesses to obtain necessary facts;
  5. Determine if testimony and documents being offered should be received and considered;
  6. Require parties to give proper background or foundation for secondary evidence, documents and opinion testimony; and
  7. Take official or judicial notice of well-established matters of common knowledge, public records.

 

Telephone Hearings

If your hearing has been scheduled as a telephone hearing, you may participate with or without representation. You will soon receive your Notice of Hearing in the mail. You, your representative, and any witnesses must either sign in online, or call the telephone number listed on your Notice of Hearing at least 10 minutes before the scheduled time of hearing and leave a number where you and your witnesses can be reached by the Hearing Officer at the time of the hearing. If you choose to use a public telephone, make sure it can receive incoming phone calls. Cell phones are often unreliable and you should be aware that hearings often last as long as an hour; sometimes longer. The Appeal Tribunal strongly recommends against using a cell phone for your telephone hearing. The Hearing Officer will call you and your witnesses at the telephone numbers submitted. Documents you wish to introduce as exhibits at your hearing must be mailed to the Appeal Tribunal and must be received in time to provide copies to the other parties before the scheduled hearing. Please provide the case number, time and date of the hearing when submitting documentation to the Appeal Tribunal. The Appeal Tribunal will mail copies of documents received to the opposing party. To expedite this process, you may wish to send the opposing party copies of the documentation when you mail copies to the Appeal Tribunal. Please notify the Appeal Tribunal if documentation has been sent to other parties to avoid duplicate mailing. If you wish a witness to testify in support of your position by way of telephone, you must tell the witness of the time of the hearing and arrange for them to be at the telephone with you or call in with the telephone number where they can be reached. You and your witnesses should be located in a quiet place.

Each party shall have the right to question all witnesses.
If you are unable to participate in the telephone hearing, follow the instructions under Postponements.

 

The Decision

The decision of the Hearing Officer should be mailed to you within 14 days after the hearing. The decision will state the finding of facts found from the evidence presented, the law applied to the facts, and the basis for the conclusion of the Hearing Officer. OAC 240:10-13-73. The decision contains notice of your appeal rights to the Board of Review.

 

Appeals to the Board of Review

The claimant, the employer or the Commission may appeal the decision to the Board of Review. If an appeal is taken, the Board of Review generally will decide the matter based on the record made at the Appeal Tribunal. Your appeal to the Board of Review should be mailed directly to the Board at the address printed in your appeal rights in your decision within 10 days of the mailing date of the Appeal Tribunal decision.

 

Independence of Hearing Officers and the Board of Review

The Oklahoma Employment Security Act, provides for a fair and impartial hearing to all parties affected by Commission Determinations as required by the Social Security Act. The decision-making process of the Appeal Tribunal and its Hearing Officers is completely independent of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission and its departments. All stages of the Appeal Tribunal appeal process is governed by the cannons of The Model Code of Judicial Conduct for State Unemployment Insurance Appeals Officers, established by the National Association of Unemployment Insurance Appellate boards.  OAC 240:10-13-9.

 

Interpreters

If an interpreter will be needed for you or your witness, tell the Appeal Tribunal immediately, and one will be provided.

 

Right to Have a Representative

You may appear at the hearing with or without representation. If you want a lawyer but have difficulty finding one or cannot afford one, you should contact your local bar association or legal aid services. OAC 240:10-13-44. When a party is represented by an Attorney, all written correspondence will be sent to the Attorney or Representative of Record. OAC 10-13-44. If you want to be represented by an attorney of your choice please contact the attorney immediately. Attorney’s fees are your responsibility. The fee cannot exceed 20% of the maximum benefit amount awarded. OAC 240:15-1-8.

If you have special needs addressed by the Americans with Disabilities Act, notify us at the address or telephone number below as soon as you are aware an appeal has been filed. If you have additional questions or concerns regarding your hearing or the hearing procedures, please contact:

Appeal Tribunal
P.O. Box 53345
Oklahoma City, OK 73152
Phone: (405) 601-3311
Fax: (405) 601-3337
appellatedivision@oesc.state.ok.us
TTD/TTY 1-800-722-0353

 

Oklahoma Employment Security Commission

 

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