Oklahoma has amended the Rules under its Employment Security Act as follows:
Definitions. The definition of the term “temporary layoff” has been expanded to include cases where employees of a federal agency (or contractor) have agreed, as part of their terms of employment, to refrain from seeking other employment when work ceases due to the needs of the federal government, and the federal employer or contractor maintains an attachment to those employees through their employment contracts. Note, in these cases a recall date is not required.
Language regarding the definition of the term “week” in the context of individuals involved in a temporary layoff or for determining full-time work has been eliminated.
Electronic signatures. This new section defines the term “electronic signature” as an electronic sound, symbol, text or process, attached to or logically associated with a document required to be filed by the Employment Security Act of 1980 and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the document. The rules provide that an electronic signature has the same meaning as a handwritten signature and that an electronic signature satisfies the requirement of any law or rule requiring a handwritten signature. The rules also specify that the intent to sign a document is established if the signature is made on a certification page protected by a user ID and password. Note that electronic signatures outside of the certification page create a rebuttable presumption that the signature is valid.
Electronic filing. This new section provides that a person or entity that files a document electronically gives implied consent to receive notice by the same electronic means. A party who files by electronic means must retain the original document in exactly the same format and content as transmitted for four years or during the pendency of any legal proceedings involving the document, whichever is longer. The document must be produced upon request, and if a party fails to do so, the Commission or Administrative Law Judge may refuse to consider it as a properly filed instrument. Note, the Commission is not responsible for events that disrupt or render impossible the receipt of documents transmitted electronically.
Instructions to secure work. Language has been eliminated that allows an employee who is involved in a temporary layoff and receiving partial unemployment benefits to have met the work search requirement as long as he or she maintains an attachment to the employer and remains available to return to work. However, new language provides for the work search requirement to be met under these circumstances if the employee is receiving benefits through an approved shared work plan.
Claims for total unemployment benefits. The provision that allows an initial claim to serve as a registration for work has been eliminated.
Claims for partial unemployment benefits. This section has been eliminated.
Retirement proceeds. New language provides that if a claimant is receiving monthly retirement payments that are required to be deducted from unemployment benefits, the Commission will deduct 7/30 of the monthly retirement payment from each week of unemployment benefits.
Drug or alcohol testing. This rule has been simplified. Under the new rule, in order to establish misconduct due to a positive drug or alcohol test or the refusal to take a drug or alcohol test, the employer must produce the evidence required by the Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act.
Filing claims. Under this new provision, any claimant or employer may request that all notices concerning an unemployment benefit claim be delivered by e-mail. For employers that make the request, all notices in pending and future cases may be delivered by e-mail. Note, it is the party’s responsibility to provide the correct e-mail address.