Unemployment Compensation Review Commission
Chapter Four

Functions and Jurisdiction of the Director

A.  Effect of Prior Determinations

  1. Second Benefit Years. In Morrison v. Steinbacher(1988), Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, Case Nos. C2-84-1601 and C2-86-0112, unreported, the United States District Court held that the Director and the Review Commission CANNOT re-litigate the reason for a claimant's separation in a second benefit year IF that same separation has already been ruled upon in a determination issued in a previous benefit year.
    1. Stated simply, Morrison holds that determinations in two consecutive benefit years must be consistent with respect to a separation. As a result, the only way to reverse a separation is in an appeal to the determination in the previous benefit year.
      1. Morrison requires the Director to be consistent on a separation in a second benefit year even while the determination in the previous benefit year is under appeal.
      2. Morrison authorizes the Director to reopen a claim in a second benefit year, even if neither party appealed, to make the determination consistent with a determination from the previous benefit year.
    2. Morrisonapplies the legal principle of res judicata , which states that a final judgment on the merits, by a court of competent jurisdiction, is conclusive of the rights of the parties in all later cases on matters determined in the former case.
    3. Disallowed applications under the August 1, 2004 amendment
      1. As noted earlier, when a claimant's first application is disallowed, the claimant can file a second application after working in sufficient covered employment to remove the suspension imposed in the denial of the first application.
      2. Applying Morrison, if the Director ruled upon any separations in disallowing the first application, the Commission will not re-litigate those separations in any decisions regarding the second application.
    4. Morrison, res judicata , and the U.S. Constitution's full faith and credit clause prohibit the Director from issuing a determination which is inconsistent with a final unemployment compensation determination issued by another state. In re Wheatley , B90-01805.
    5. The only exception to Morrison is in those cases where there has been a change in the reason for unemployment since the determination in the previous benefit year became final, such as where a disciplinary layoff has been converted to a discharge.
  2. Unemployment compensation determinations do NOT have any effect on outside litigation.
    1. Ohio Revised Code Section 4141.281(D)(8) states that no finding of fact or law, decision, or order of the Director, Hearing Officer, Review Commission, or a reviewing court, is binding upon any proceeding other than Unemployment Compensation proceedings.
    2. This section overrules a prior court decision, Pullar v. Upjohn HealthCare Services, Inc. (1984), 21 Ohio App.3d 288, which had held that collateral estoppel (similar to res judicata except involving a different cause of action) allowed unemployment compensation determinations to preclude inconsistent civil court cases.
  3. Unemployment compensation determinations are NOT controlled by outside litigation.
    1. A private arbitrator's decision that an employee was discharged for just cause under a collective bargaining agreement does not preclude the Director from issuing a determination holding that the employee was discharged without just cause in connection with work under Ohio Revised Code Section 4141.29(D)(2)(a). Youghiogheny and Ohio Coal Co. v. Oszerst(1986), 23 Ohio St.3d 39.
    2. A Workers' Compensation decision is not binding on the Director. Campos v. Toledo Edison Co. (Mar.10, 1986), Lucas CP No. 84-1562, unreported.
    3. Transcripts and other materials from outside litigation may be admitted as evidence with respect to Unemployment Compensation claims.
  4. In making determinations, the Director shall follow Review Commission decisions which have become final with respect to similarly situated claimants. {ORC §4141.28(H)}

B.  Effect of Incorrect Advice Received from a State Employee

  1. Parties sometimes argue that they failed to take some action, such as filing a claim or an appeal, based upon incorrect advice they received from a state employee. These parties then argue that the equitable principles of estoppel require the Director to ignore the written statute and act in accordance with the state employee's incorrect advice.
  2. However, the Ohio courts have repeatedly held that statutory provisions must apply even when individuals rely upon a state employee's incorrect advice about the law. See, e.g., Griffith v. J.C. Penney Co. (1986), 24 Ohio St.3d 112 (holding that the Ohio Supreme Court has repeatedly "refused to apply principles of estoppel against the state, its agencies or its agents, under circumstances involving an exercise of governmental functions").

C.  Corrected Determinations{ORC §4141.28(G)}

  1. The Director shall not issue a corrected determination when the Review Commission, or a court, has jurisdiction with respect to that determination.
  2. The Director shall issue a corrected determination within the benefit year of an allowed application or within 52 weeks of the filing of a disallowed application WHEN
    1. a determination is wrong due to an error in an employer's report OR due to any typographical or clerical error in the determination.
    2. correct remuneration information is received by the Director.
  3. Determinations regarding an Alternate Base Period shall be corrected ONLY IF:
    1. the quarterly report is timely filed; AND
    2. the correct remuneration information would change the initial monetary determination. {ORC §4141.01(Q)(2)}
    3. Any benefits already paid, and any benefits already charged to the employer's account, shall be adjusted effective as of the beginning of the claimant's benefit year. {ORC §4141.01(Q)(2)}
  4. A valid corrected determination shall take precedence over and void the prior determination of the Director.

D.  Child Support Obligations

  1. An individual must report child support obligations at the time of filing a new claim for unemployment compensation. {ORC §4141.28(B)}
  2. When a claim for unemployment compensation is filed by an individual who owes child support obligations, the Director will notify the state or local child support enforcement agency ONLY if the claimant is eligible for unemployment compensation benefits. {ORC §4141.284(A)}
  3. The Director shall deduct and withhold from unemployment compensation payable to an individual who owes child support obligations:
    1. Any amount required to be deducted and withheld from the unemployment compensation pursuant to: {ORC §4141.284(B)}
      1. legal process or agreement submitted by the state or local child support enforcement agency; OR
      2. in the absence of such legal process or agreement, the amount specified by the individual.
    2. The amount withheld from any week can ONLY come from that amount which remains payable to the individual after any overpayments or deductions for deductible income. {ORC §4141.284(D)}
  4. Court modifications may result in amounts being deducted that are different from the agency-provided amount. The amount to be deducted may be found to be different from the local agency amount if evidence supports a court modification not taken into account by the local agency.

E.  Eligibility Notice

  1. Any base period or subsequent employer of a claimant, who has knowledge of specific facts affecting such claimant's right to receive benefits for any week, may notify the Director in writing of such facts. {ORC §4141.28(F)}
    1. The Eligibility Notice must be in writing. While the Director has specific Eligibility Notice forms, failure to use the prescribed form shall NOT preclude the Director's examination of any notice. {ORC §4141.28(F)}
    2. An Eligibility Notice is timely filed if it is received by the Director, or post-marked, within forty-five (45) days of the end of the week being challenged. {ORC §4141.28(F)}
    3. If the Eligibility Notice is NOT timely filed, then the notifying employer shall NOT be an interested party to the claim for the week being challenged.
  2. To be considered valid, an eligibility notice must: {ORC §4141.28(F)}
    1. Contain in writing a statement that identifies either a source who has firsthand knowledge of the information or an informant who can identify the source;
    2. Provide specific and detailed information that may potentially disqualify the claimant;
    3. Provide the name and address of the source or informant; and
    4. Appear to the Director to be reliable and credible.
  3. If the Eligibility Notice IS timely filed and valid, then the notifying employer becomes an interested party to the claim for the week being challenged, and the Director MUST issue a determination on whether the challenged claim is allowed or disallowed: {ORC §4141.28(F)}
    1. The Director must give notice of the issue to the claimant; {ORC §4141.28(E)}
      1. the claimant shall have a minimum of five business days to respond.
      2. the claimant may request a fact-finding interview.
    2. The Director shall consider the information contained in the Eligibility Notice, together with the other facts, and the Director shall issue a determination to all interested parties. {ORC §4141.28(F)}

F.  Mutualization of Employer Charges

  1. Under certain circumstances, a base period employer's account can be relieved of charges relating to a claimant. If benefits become payable to the claimant, then the employer's share of those benefits may be charged to, and paid out of, the Mutualized Account. The mutualized account is established, and the contributory scheme for that account is explained, in Ohio Revised Code Section 4141.25.
  2. Only contributory employers may request mutualization of their charges. A reimbursing employer, limited to certain non-profit or public organizations under Ohio Revised Code Sections 4141.241 and 4141.242, may NOT be granted mutualization of its charges.
    1. A base period employer who is an interested party to the first week claimed can seek mutualization of charges ONLY through the determination ruling upon the claimant's separation. {ORC §4141.28(E)}
    2. A base period employer who is NOT an interested party to the first week claimed can seek mutualization of charges by timely appealing the Determination of Benefit Rights mailed to the employer.
  3. The account of a base period, contributory employer will be mutualized IF: {ORC §4141.29(H)}
    1. The claimant quit employment without just cause under Ohio Revised Code Section 4141.29(D)(2)(a); OR
    2. The claimant was discharged for just cause in connection with work under Ohio Revised Code Section 4141.29(D)(2)(a); OR
    3. The claimant quit employment to marry, or because of a marital, parental, filial, or other domestic obligation under Ohio Revised Code Section 4141.29(D)(2)(c); OR
    4. The claimant became unemployed by reason of commitment to any correctional institution under Ohio Revised Code Section 4141.29(D)(2)(e); OR
    5. The claimant was separated from employment for the purpose of entering the armed forces of the United States under Ohio Revised Code Section 4141.29(D)(2)(a)(i); OR
    6. The claimant left concurrent employment, left employment to accept recall from a prior employer, or left to accept other employment under Ohio Revised Code Sections 4141.29(D)(2)(a)(iii) and (iv), and Section 4141.291; OR
    7. The claimant refused an offer of suitable work, or refused or failed to investigate a referral to suitable work, because the claimant was attending a training course approved by the Director under Ohio Revised Code Section 4141.29(A)(4). {ORC §4141.29(D)(2)(b)(ii)}
    8. Charges to a base period employer, with whom the claimant is employed part-time at the time of the application, will be mutualized IF: {ORC §4141.24(D)(1)}
      1. The claimant also worked part-time for the employer during the base period of the claim;
      2. The claimant is unemployed due to loss of other employment; AND
      3. The employer is not a reimbursing employer under Ohio Revised Code Sections 4141.241 or 4141.242.
  4. Under former Ohio Revised Code Section 4141.29(H), charges were mutualized when the claimant was separated from employment pursuant to a labor-management contract or agreement, or pursuant to an established employer plan, program, or policy which permits the employee, because of a lack of work, to accept the separation from employment under Ohio Revised Code Section 4141.29(D)(2)(a)(ii). This provision was eliminated effective September 21, 2000.
  5. The account of a contributory Ohio employer will be mutualized when its wages have been sent to another state as a Combined Wage Claim, and the charges would have been mutualized had the claim been under Ohio law. {OAC 4141-35-06}

G.  Interested Parties

  1. On a first claim for benefits, or an additional claim, the Interested Parties are: the Director, the claimant, the most recent separating employer, and any other employer whose separation is involved in the determination. {ORC §§4141.01(l) and 4141.28(E)} Separations prior to the claimant's most recent separation shall NOT be examined IF: {OAC 4141-27-01(B)}
    1. the claimant was employed in covered employment for six or more weeks with the most recent separating employer; AND
    2. the claimant earned, or was paid for such weeks, a total of:
      1. 2006: $1,158.00;
      2. 2005: $1,116.00;
      3. 2004: $1,086.00.
  2. On a continued claim, the Interested Parties are: the Director, the claimant, and any employer who has filed a valid Eligibility Notice. {ORC §§4141.01(l) and 4141.28(F)} A continued claim is any claim other than a first or additional claim. {ORC §4141.01(F)}