Most hearings are conducted by telephone. A hearing officer, who is the judge in the case, will call the number listed on the hearing notice at the time indicated. It is very important that you double check the telephone number on hearing notice to be sure it is correct. If the number listed is wrong or is not the best number to reach you, you should contact the Department of Employment and Workforce immediately to update your number in the Department's records. You should also ensure that if you are using a mobile phone, your phone is fully charged and you are in an area with a strong signal. If you do not receive a call within ten minutes of the scheduled start time, you should call the Department.
If you would like witnesses to participate in the hearing, you can either ensure the witnesses are in the same physical location participating over speaker phone, or you can ask the hearing officer to call them and teleconference them into the hearing. If you choose this option, it is very important that you let your witnesses know to expect a telephone call from the Department.
You can request an in-person hearing. The Department is more likely to grant your request if you have a disability or if you have a language barrier and an in-person hearing would help you to communicate with the hearing officer more effectively. If you need an in-person hearing, you should make the request as quickly as possible.
The Department can provide language interpretation services if necessary. If you need this service you should clearly state this in your appeal.
Sometimes it can be helpful to sequester witnesses. This means preventing witnesses from hearing other witness' testimony. Parties can request sequestration of witnesses at the beginning of the hearing. Sequestration may be of limited use in a telephone hearing when it is impossible to confirm that a party’s witnesses are out of earshot of the proceedings.
Order of Testimony
The order in which the parties present their cases depends upon the determination under appeal. In cases in which the claimant was initially determined to have been discharged for a disqualifying reason, the employer presents its case first. In cases in which the claimant was initially determined to have quit without good cause, the claimant presents his or her case first.
Manner of Proceeding
Administrative hearing officers preside over hearings of the Appeal Tribunal. Hearings are recorded and testimony is given under oath. This hearing is the only opportunity during the appeal process for either party to present testimony or evidence.
Hearings proceed quickly without formal opening statements or closing arguments. The focus is on gathering testimony and documentary evidence. However, if there is a particular legal issue at stake, such as the claimant’s eligibility for benefits due to the compelling family circumstances (illness or disability) it can be important to identify the issue to the hearing officer at the beginning of the hearing to alert the hearing officer.
At the beginning of the hearing, the hearing officer will typically show or describe the initial determination to the appealing party and ask whether this is the document being appealed. Then the hearing officer will move into evidence as Agency’s Exhibit One the determination and any documents used to arrive at the determination, including the application for benefits, statements of the parties taken by Department employees, and documents submitted by the parties during the claims process. If you you have not received these documents, you should object to the documents becoming evidence in the case.
Usually, the administrative hearing officer questions each witness first, followed by the party that called the witness. The the other party can ask their own questions of the witness. It'
Handling of Documents
The Department’s hearing notice directs parties in telephone hearings to submit any proposed exhibits to the Department and to the opposing party at least 24 hours before the hearing. Just because you sent in documents does not mean that those documents are evidence. You must specifically ask the hearing officer to enter into evidence any documents you wish to be considered.
Appeal Tribunal Decision
Not more than thirty days after the hearing the administrative hearing officer will issue a written decision containing findings of fact and a conclusion. A copy will be sent to the parties.