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Oklahoma Unemployment Case Law
Research at the Oklahoma Attorney General's web site.
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Abraham et al
Several hundred union members could not collect because they were on strike. Somehow, a couple months later, they got the department to say they could collect because the strike was over, even though it was not.
More on the same strike above. So long as they are on strike, they cannot collect.
American Bank
A bank janitor is not an independent contractor; therefore, the bank owes unemployment taxes on his wages.
He put in for mileage expenses on his own car when he was actually using a state car. He says it was all a mistake. He doesn't collect.
Baldor Electric
She says she was fired in retaliation for a worker's comp claim. Much court time at many levels has been wasted considering which court has jurisdiction. No attention is paid to whether what she says is true. Similar quodlibets disqualify her here again.
She quit to start another job. But the other job won't start for months.
Truck driver fails drug test.
Blankenship et al
They cannot collect unemployment because they are on strike.
She quit the convenience store because conditions were unsafe, because they sold contraband cigarettes, and because the new owner cut her bonus without explanation. OESC denied her benefits on the grounds she did not prove the unsafety, but ignored the other two reasons.
Board of Review
A federal employee took a severance package and early retirement. She won't collect because she had enough seniority that she probably would not have been laid off.
Boise City Feedlots
Feedlots say they are exempt from unemployment taxes because farmers are exempt. This court says a feedlot is not a farm
This thing dragged through the courts so long that the claimant died. Therefore, the court says he apparently wasn't fired, he was just too sick to work.
A tailor divides his business into three parts: pants, jackets, and vests. Each part is leased to a former employee. Each part is staffed by former employees. Nevertheless, he still owes unemployment taxes on the workers
They went on strike. The company hired replacements. They collected Unemployment. The company won an appeal. Now they have to pay the state back what they collected.
Did not appeal until six months after the deadline. But contends that, because they moved promptly for a retrial, the late appeal should be heard.
They bought the business. The business had a high unemployment tax rate. They inherit the rate.
Form supercedes substance. She did not name the commission in her appeal petition, and therefore her appeal will not be heard.
Carlson Reserve
A parent corporation is liable for delinquent unemployment compensation taxes incurred by its wholly owned subsidiary.
Vacation pay and sick leave pay received upon termination prevent one from collecting unemployment.
A flourishing steel fabrication company bought a failing gas dehydration company, to get its buildings, equipment, and welding certificates. But now the OESC wants to stick the flourishing steel fab company with the defunct gas dehyd company's bad tax rate, saying they are a successor to the business. The court says no.
Problems finding child care led to five weeks absence.
An agency did not pay Unemployment taxes on its court reporters because they had always been treated as independent contractors. Now the OESC wants back taxes on them. The court says they are independent.
City of Bixby
She says she quit because they were going to fire her for giving info to the grand jury which indicted them.
Coca Cola
The state has to repay the company overpaid taxes. The company wants interest from the time of overpayment.
They offered him work. But he has no way to get there, owns no car, has never driven a car.
Cove Industries.
She quit because she was allergic to the dye they used. This court says she should collect.
His wife was ill. The doctors were taking him to the cleaners. His pay got garnished five times in one year. So the employer fired him. The court says it isn't his fault, he collects.
She had a drug conviction which she never told her employer about. She doesn't collect.
Had she filed late, she would have been out of luck. Because her lawyer filed late, this court waives the deadline.
The Employment Security Commission decides the facts at the hearing. A court cannot retry those facts.
Days Inn
After some sort of trouble, a housekeeper was placed "on call", which is apparently a Days Inn euphemism for "go home until we decide what to do with you." Two days later, when they called her up to discuss the trouble, she said she was leaving for another job.
Unpaid unemployment taxes owed by his defunct business result in a lien on his real estate.
Dickson Oil
A corporation which employs fewer than eight but employs contractors to do its usual work. The contractors' employees count as the corporation's employees, and the corporation owes unemployment taxes on their wages.
She testified against the store in an EEOC suit, so they found an excuse to fire her. The court says she collects.
Refused a random drug test.
Form supercedes substance. She is denied an appeal because she did not fill out the form according to specs.
Form supercedes substance. He did not include the Board of Review on his petition for appeal; therefore, his appeal will not be heard. This quibble occurs rather frequently in this state.
Form supercedes substance. Her apeal is dismissed because she did not mail a copy of the paperwork to her ex-employer.
Emergency Physicians
Emergency room doctors are employees, not contractors, and the employer owes unemployment taxes on their wages.
The boss pointed at her office door and said "get out!" She says that means she was fired. Sounds plain enough. So she picked up her things and got out. But now the employer says she quit.
Eufala School Dist.
The school wanted the custodian to drive a bus. But he flunked the CDL test. So they fired him. He collects.
Express Bus
This company delivers buses from the factory. Their drivers are employees, and not independent contractors. Therefore, they must pay the tax.
Business was bad. They cut everyone's pay. He was the only one who quit. He collects.
First Place
The wanted her to start so early that she was unable to find child care; so she was late.
The company said they were going to lay off half their people. She took an early retirement offer. She does not collect.
A summer lifeguard applies for unemployment when the pool closes for the season. The city which runs the pool claims she should not collect because it is seasonal work.
They hired her for just two weeks. Now their unemployment account will be charged two weeks wages.
When several corporations share the same ownership and control, they are treated as one for the purposes of unemployment copensation taxes.
We don't have the whole story here. But it appears that a forensic chemist wants immunity as a witness to prevent her denial of unemployment benefits.
She worked for the Employment Security Commission 16 years, with excellent qualifications. But a man who was her subordinate, with less experience and less qualified than her, and with poor performance reviews, was promoted over her, then dumped all his work in her lap. She got stressed out and quit. This court says she collects. And the court scolds the OESC for treating its own ex-employee more harshly than they would treat someone else's.
Goodrich Tire
They offered him early retirement. He took it. Now he can't collect Unemployment.
Form supercedes substance. He did not include the Board of Review on his petition for appeal; therefore, his appeal will not be heard.
Hadlock et al
GM laid off thousands, and paid each one week's wages. These wages prevent them from collecting one week's unemployment.
She was let go from the Department of Rehabilitation Services. They claim she was an independent contractor not eligible for unemployment. They argue their case before a tax Assessment Board. She wants to be heard before the Board as an interested party.
She quit when she got carpal tunnel syndrome. First, benefits were denied, then granted, then denied. This appeal took so long that the claimant died.
Health Care Associates
Part-time temporary nurses are construed as independent contractors.
She lost her job for an oil company and enrolled in school. She is not eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance.
She took a temporary job, filling in for someone who was on maternity leave. When the job was up, she filed for Unemployment. This court says that, because she was on a temporary contract, she quit voluntarily. Compare the case below, which has the opposite result.
Indian Lodge
Now here is a temporary job which the OESC wants to regard as a voluntary quit, but which the court decides the opposite of the case above.
Iron Masters
He got steel in his eye. He applied for Worker's Comp. When he returned, the boss got on his back for poor production, they argued, and the boss fired him. His Unemployment claim was denied. Then he sued the employer, saying he was fired in retaliation for filing a Worker's Comp. claim. The court wouldn't listen to him, because he had lost the Unemployment claim. This court says listen.
He was moonlighting by working on a car in the shop when there wasn't any other work in the shop. Was he fired or laid off?
J.I. Case
A lawyer's request for a continuance prevails.
J & W Construction
Here, a construction company says its masons are independent contractors, and so they should not have to pay the tax.
She used the office computers and copiers to search for a new job.
A pizza delivery driver quit because he couldn't afford to repair his car. He doesn't collect. One judge dissents.
Form supercedes substance. Here's someone else who filed their appeal in the wrong county. This court is a stickler for details like this.
On the employment application she checked no when asked had she been convicted of a crime, because the charges were still pending. Then she was convicted. Then they did a background check.
He hurt his leg, called from the hospital to say he wouldn't be in, had surgery twice, was laid up at home, lived seven miles from the nearest pay phone, had a friend trek in and call to explain, yet they fired him. The OESC doesn't want him to collect unemployment.
She did not report back to work within three days of her doctor releasing her to go back to work. She doesn't collect, even though the employer can't show any harm was done.
Form supercedes substance, with a twist. Here, a district court appeals the determination that its court reporter is an employee and not an independent contractor. But the court fails to name all parties in its petition, and so the appeal will not be heard.
Told a secretary she would be out. Did not tell the boss.
Striking workers cannot collect even if the plant is not shut down by the strike.
They fired him because he was in jail two days for driving without a license. He collects because it's unrelated to his work.
This guy set up so many corporations, playing a shell game with the state, that the state finally told him he could no longer incorporate, nor could he be responsible for any business's taxes.
She quit because she didn't like people telling her what to do.
Did not like a poor performance review. Stormed out. Got fired.
Northern Butane
Northern Butane doesn't like the fact their account got charged $8,500 when their employee only collected six weeks Unemployment. Had someone just sat them down and explained the Oklahoma rating system, they could have saved a lot of lawyer's fees. See Benefit Wage Ratio in the Unemployment Manual
He tested positive for drugs, but he collects because he didn't act stoned.
OK City
He took leave for surgery. When his leave ran out, they told him he needed a doctor's note by Aug. 21st, but his doctor was on vacation until mid-September. They fired him. He collects.
She missed work twice without calling in. But both times were inadvertent.
A company hires its salesmen as independent contractors. But when these salesmen hire assistants, they are employees of the company for the purposes of unemployment compensation taxes.
Peace of Mind
The Peace of Mind Holistic Bookstore fired him because he was late one time when the electric went out and his alarm clock didn't go off.
Over the years, they have paid taxes on commissions paid their salesmen. Now they say those salesmen were independent contractors, and they want their taxes back.
Pizza Inn
A delivery driver's car broke down. They didn't have any other job for him. He doesn't collect, though the presiding judge thinks he should.
They stiffed her on her commissions, so she quit. Now they want to deny her Unemployment on some technicality about an affidavit not being notarized. The court says she collects.
When a business divides, the separate portions retain the same unemployment rating experience.
Realty Mortgage
By separate mutual agreements, certain real estate salesmen associated themselves with a real estate broker. They are not his employees. He does not have to pay unemployment tax on their earnings.
He applied for benefits. Was denied. Appealed. Lost. Went to court and the court told the department to pay him. Now the department says it won't pay him because he didn't continue to file every week from the time he was denied.
An agency which refers servants will have to pay unemployment taxes on their wages.
Form supercedes substance. He filed his court papers in the wrong county.
Once again, a company attempts to avoid unemployment tax by saying its employees are independent contractors. Once again, the company loses.
When he was hired, he was told he would have to work Sundays. Now he refuses to, for religious reasons.
He overpaid his unemployment taxes and asked for a refund. The department held a hearing and denied him. He went to court and won. Now the department says that it is the fact finder and the court may not decide the facts. This court says that's only if they got it right.
Now that he got his refund, he wants interest.
Barbers in a barber shop are employees and not independent contractos.
He only had ten days to file his appeal. He took 14.
School Dist.
During the Summer, the school required he get a physical by the end of August. When he went to the doctor late in August for the exam, he wound up in the hospital for a month. The school district fired him for not bringing the results of the physical to them promptly (i.e. during the time he was still in the hospital). The court says get a clue.
These real estate salemen associated with a mortgage company are independent contractors.
A janitor was promoted to painter. But he couldn't get along with the client. So they offered him his old job back. He quit instead. He doesn't collect.
When the owners of a corporation form a second corporation, the new company inherits the unemployment experience of the other.
She didn't punch a clock because she was paid strictly commission. But she was fired for not punching the clock. She doesn't collect.
An auto repossessor is an independent contractor, and therefore cannot collect unemployment.
Relative fell ill in another city. Blizzard frustrated travel plans. Nobody knew where he was.
A deputy bad mouthed the sherriff, despite having signed a loyalty oath.
He had a history of poor attendance. However, the final incident was not misconduct.
Form supercedes substance. He did not include the Board of Review on his petition for appeal; therefore, his appeal will not be heard.
They paid him benefits on the basis of a false statement. Now they want the money back.
A man with a badge and a gun, working for the OCC, tried to shake down a company regulated by the OCC for cash. He was fired. Now he thinks he should get Unemployment.
Tulsa Flower
One person owns majority stock in two companies. Therefore, the state wants to treat both companies as one for the purpose of unemployment taxes.
Tulsa School Dist.
The school district drug tested all its drivers. Four came up positive, so they fired them. The court says they collect, because they never acted stoned.
She was fired for poor attendance. But the Uniroyal attendance policy didn't distinguish whether a tardiness was excused or inexcused. So she collects.
Another case of an employee testing positive for drugs, who collects because he didn't act stoned.
Repeatedly counseled for absenteeism.
Brain trauma left her unable to work and unavailable for work.
Welch and Brown
In Oklahoma, a company must employ eight workers to be subject to unemployment. The secretary of a corporation, who does no work and gets no pay, does not count as one of them.
He was fired from the post office. He applied, appealed, and finally went to court. Court won't even listen to him because he didn't fill out his court paperwork the right way.
Chicken hatchery employees are not farm workers and therefore not excluded from unemployment.
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