Separation from Work Unemployment Guidelines in Oklahoma
To meet the qualifications for unemployment in Oklahoma, the first thing evaluated is how the applicant became separated from his or her job. The circumstances of the separation will determine whether or when the claimant may receive benefits. The petitioner may still be eligible for unemployment benefits if no work was available to them through no fault of their own as defined by Oklahoma law.
Other qualifications for unemployment state that if the applicant was laid off, lost his or her job in a reduction-in-force (RIF), or got downsized for economic reasons, he or she would be eligible for EDD. If a claimant willingly quit, he or she would not be eligible for unemployment unless it was for good cause. In general, good cause means that the reason a claimant left his or her position was job-related, and so compelling that there was no other choice but to leave. One example of this would be sexual harassment that the employer refused to stop. Other possible examples would be if the unemployment insurance petitioner was forced to work in unsafe conditions or the employer failed to pay them fully for their work. The applicant may still be eligible for certain compelling personal reasons such as their own medical condition, to provide care to a family member, or if they are the victim of domestic violence or abuse.
Regarding who qualifies for unemployment, if the former employee was fired because they lacked the skills to perform the job or were not a good fit, they may still be eligible for unemployment benefits. However, if an applicant was fired for “misconduct,” he or she will be disqualified from receiving benefits. Under Oklahoma law, misconduct includes dishonesty, violating a safety rule, wilfully violating or neglecting job duties and accruing unexplained absences or tardiness. Misconduct does not require a prior warning from the employer.
Eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits in Oklahoma
The applicant must be a United States citizen or authorized to work in the U.S. In order for the former worker to qualify as "able" to work, and therefore meet unemployment insurance eligibility, he or she must be physically and mentally capable of work. If the claimant is suffering from an illness or injury, he or she may be denied unemployment benefits until he or she is once again able to work. However, an applicant who has a disability and could work if provided a reasonable accommodation generally will be considered able to work.
Additionally, to claim unemployment benefits, the UI recipient must be “available” to work, which means there is nothing preventing him or her from accepting a new job. The following are examples of a petitioner being unavailable to work, and ineligible for benefits: he or she is unwilling to work certain hours or days; the candidate has no way to get to work; and his or her personal life limits the time available to work (this can include whether the claimant has does not have childcare arrangements). If a claimant is offered a suitable position, they must accept it. The longer an applicant is claiming benefits for unemployment without obtaining employment, the more likely he or she will have to consider jobs that are different from, pay less than, or require a significantly longer commute from the previous job worked.
To be eligible for EDD, the claimant must be looking for work and undertake an active job search. In Oklahoma, the claimant must contact two different employers each week regarding work. These contacts must occur in the week in which they claim benefits. The work they seek should be at a pay rate generally available in the area, and in keeping with their experience, education, and training. To remain in good standing with unemployment registration, the employment contact should involve a resume and can be made in-person or by telephone, fax, or email. If the contact involves a job application, this should be submitted to the appropriate personnel at the potential employer. The contacts cannot be repeated with the same employer until four weeks have passed. The same contact should not be listed for consecutive weeks except for those agencies that offer multiple placement services. All contacts are subject to verification. An applicant’s unemployment insurance eligibility is predicated on supplying a detailed log of job-seeking employment weekly. Also, all claims are subject to audits so the applicant should retain personal records of the work search for two years.
Exceptions to the work search requirement include:
• If the applicant is registered with a union with a hiring hall, he or she must contact the hiring hall each week;
• If the applicant is on a temporary layoff and has a return-to-work date within eight weeks of the last day of work.
One more stipulation on how to qualify for unemployment in Oklahoma states that the claimant must also register for work with Employment Services within seven days of filing an initial claim. This can be done online or by visiting the local Workforce Center, which offers staff assistance.
Monetary Requirements for Unemployment in Oklahoma
What are the requirements to get unemployment in OK? Aside from the above-stated, there is also a monetary requirement. Oklahoma examines the applicant’s earnings during a one-year “base period” to determine eligibility for unemployment. The base period is the first four of the last five complete calendar quarters before the filing of the benefits claim.
The unemployment insurance coverage candidate must meet both of these requirements:
• Applicant must have earned at least $1,500 during the entire base period.
• In the entire base period, Applicant must have earned at least 1.5 times his or her earnings in the highest paid quarter of the period.