- Carefully read this information and any correspondence you receive from the Commission or the Appeal Tribunal.
- 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.
- Evaluate and prepare your side of the story. Are there documents you want to use or witnesses you want to present at the hearing?
- During your hearing; Listen carefully. Take notes of statements made which you want to ask questions about or respond to when you testify.
- Offer exhibits. Ask that the documents you want to be considered be entered into the record of the hearing.
- If you bring witnesses, chose people who have first-hand knowledge of what you want them to testify about.
- 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.
Appeals For Individuals
Translations: Español | Vietnamese
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:
PO. Box 53345
Oklahoma City, OK 73152
The date, time, and place of your hearing will be shown on the Notice of Hearing. Hearings typically take place via phone or online, and individuals must login or call in at least ten (10) minutes before the scheduled time provided on your Notice of Hearing. In-person hearings are only scheduled under extenuating circumstances, and individuals must arrive at least fifteen (15) minutes before the scheduled time and inform the receptionist that you are ready for the hearing.
Claimants: If you are still unemployed, continue to file claims as instructed while the appeal is pending.
A request made to the Appeal Tribunal for a different time, date, or place of the hearing will not be granted unless there is evidence of good cause, which may include:
- 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.
- An attorney must appear in a court of superior jurisdiction
Failure to make a timely effort to get an attorney is not a good cause for granting a continuance. OAC 240:10-13-37.
Any request for a continuance must be made in writing to the Appeal Tribunal, and received by the tribunal at least four (4) days before the scheduled hearing. Request may be faxed to (405) 601-3337. Do not assume a request has 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 to postpone the continued case. 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 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 before the hearing will be considered.
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.
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:
The case number, date and location of the hearing,
The name and home address of the witness, and
A brief summary of the expected testimony of each witness
Any request for a subpoena(s) must be received by the Appeal Tribunal at least five (5) 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).
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:
- The docket number, date and location of the hearing,
- 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.
- 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 Hearing. Documents received fewer than five (5) days prior to the hearing may or may not be considered based on the reasons and effect of late submission. 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 for the hearing.
Parties submitting an audio, video, or electronic image 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
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.
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 OS 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.
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.
Each party has the following rights:
To testify on their own behalf;
To be represented by a lawyer or other representative your choosing;
To present documents and records;
To question your own and the opposing parties witnesses;
To explain or rebut evidence against you;
To object to testimony or documents offered by the opposing party;
To state at the end of the hearing how the evidence and the law supports your position.
The Hearing Officer has the sole authority for the conduct of the hearing. In conducting the hearing, the Hearing Officer shall:
Explain the issues and the meanings of terms the parties do not understand;
Explain the order in which persons will testify, ask questions and give rebuttal;
Help parties in asking questions of other witnesses;
Question parties and witnesses to obtain necessary facts;
Determine if testimony and documents being offered should be received and considered;
Require parties to give proper background or foundation for secondary evidence, documents, and opinion testimony; and
Take official or judicial notice of well-established matters of common knowledge, public records.
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 on 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 of the Hearing Officer should be mailed to you 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.
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.
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.
If an interpreter will be needed for you or your witness, tell the Appeal Tribunal immediately, and one will be provided.
The Assessment Board of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission is an appellate division with jurisdiction to hear tax matters concerning employer unemployment tax accounts. The Assessment Board is authorized to hear and decide cases involving: employer contributions rates; whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee; assessments of contributions or reimbursement payments; successorship; waivers of penalty or interest; base period employer charges; appeals to any determination made pursuant to any provision contained in Article III of the Employment Security Act of 1980, etc. Rule 240:10-11-1; Rule 240:10-11-5.
Protests/Objections/Appeals to the Assessment Board must be filed within the time limit set out in the determination and should include a detailed explanation regarding the reason(s) for the protest; the name of the protesting party; the protesting party's Oklahoma account number. If a protest is untimely filed, the Assessment Board is without jurisdiction in most cases (see Rules identified above) and the determination will be final and binding. Provided a timely protest has been filed, a de novo (new) hearing will be scheduled and held concerning the issue appealed. A decision will then be issued based on the testimony and evidence presented at the hearing. Decisions of the Assessment Board may be appealed to District Court by filing a petition for review within thirty (30) days after the mailing date of the decision.
After the Appeal Tribunal Hearing is held and the decision is issued, the next step in the appeals process is to file a written appeal with the Board of Review, within 10 calendar days of the mailing date of that decision.
The Board consists of three people appointed by the Governor for six-year terms. The Board does not hold Hearings. The members of the Board will listen to the recording of the hearing and consider any exhibits that the Appeal Tribunal Hearing Officer admitted into the record. They generally cannot accept new evidence that was not entered into the record at the Appeal Tribunal Hearing. The Board can affirm the Appeal Tribunal decision, reverse it, or remand it to either the Appeal Tribunal or the Commission with instructions on how to proceed.
The Board of Review is the last step of the appeal process within the OESC. The parties have 30 days from the mailing date of the Board’s decision in which to file an appeal for judicial review to the District Court in the claimant’s county of residence if they choose to appeal further.