Friday, April 9, 2010

UNEMPLOYMENT HEARINGS - PREPARATION FOR HEARINGS

Here are more comments on some of the statements made on the Appeals Board FAQ website on hearings. The next FAQ is as follows:

"What happens at the hearing?

The hearing is recorded. The judge will begin by identifying all the parties and the issues and will explain how the hearing will proceed. Testimony is taken under oath or affirmation. The judge will ask you and the other party questions. The judge may decide to consider new questions about your case not identified in the NOTICE OF DETERMINATION or your employer's objection. The judge must find good cause to consider new questions, must explain the good cause for you, and must offer you an adjournment (delay) if you are not prepared to discuss the new question. You will be allowed to ask questions of all other witnesses. The judge will assist you in asking questions of witnesses if you need help. A lawyer or representative for any party, would be allowed to ask questions. Any witnesses, documents or other evidence that supports your case should be brought to the hearing. If you need more time to get them, let the judge know this and explain why it is needed. If you cannot get the evidence you need, ask for a subpoena. The judge will rule on which documents or testimony may be admitted into evidence. He/She will also permit parties to use documents from the case file in presenting their case. The judge considers only the evidence at the hearing that is accepted into the record. You have the right to see and talk about any document before the judge accepts it for the record. At the end of the hearing all parties can give closing statements."

All of this is basically true...but I could write a book as to what else can happen. By this blog, and by addressing each FAQ, I hope to address all the different issues. With respect to this FAQ, the Claimant should bear in mind that the hearings are scheduled in one hour segments so that when complex factual issues are present, the hearing may end after an hour and the next hearing date will not take place until a mutually convenient day and time, usually up to 4 weeks. Also, if the DOL appears at the hearing through counsel, there is a third party at the hearing to ask questions, etc. From personal experiences, no two hearings are alike and I have been involved in hearings that took as little as 15 minutes to hearings that lasted over several months. Also bear in mind, the administrative law judge hearing may not be the final say on the matter - there is a further appeal process, first to the Appeals Board and then to the Appellate Division, 3rd Department.

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