20 CFR § 658.417 - State hearings.

§ 658.417 State hearings.

(a) The hearing described in § 658.411(d)(5) must be held by State hearing officials. A State hearing official may be any State official authorized to hold hearings under State law. Examples of hearing officials are referees in State unemployment compensation hearings and officials of the State agency authorized to preside at State administrative hearings.

(b) The State hearing official may decide to conduct hearings on more than one complaint concurrently if they determine that the issues are related or that the complaints will be processed more expeditiously if conducted together.

(c) The State hearing official, upon the referral of a case for a hearing, must:

(1) Notify all involved parties of the date, time, and place of the hearing; and

(2) Reschedule the hearing, as appropriate.

(d) In conducting a hearing, the State hearing official must:

(1) Regulate the course of the hearing;

(2) Issue subpoenas if necessary, provided the official has the authority to do so under State law;

(3) Ensure that all relevant issues are considered;

(4) Rule on the introduction of evidence and testimony; and

(5) Take all actions necessary to ensure an orderly proceeding.

(e) All testimony at the hearing must be recorded and may be transcribed when appropriate.

(f) The parties must be afforded the opportunity to present, examine, and cross-examine witnesses.

(g) The State hearing official may elicit testimony from witnesses, but may not act as advocate for any party.

(h) The State hearing official must receive and include in the record, documentary evidence offered by any party and accepted at the hearing. Copies thereof must be made available by the party submitting the document to other parties to the hearing upon request.

(i) Federal and State rules of evidence do not apply to hearings conducted pursuant to this section; however rules or principles designed to assure production of the most credible evidence available and to subject testimony to test by cross-examination, must be applied where reasonably necessary by the State hearing official. The State hearing official may exclude irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious evidence.

(j) The case record, or any portion thereof, must be available for inspection and copying by any party at, prior to, or subsequent to the hearing upon request. Special procedures may be used for disclosure of medical and psychological records such as disclosure to a physician designated by the individual.

(k) The State hearing official must, if feasible, resolve the dispute at any time prior to the conclusion of the hearing.

(l) At the State hearing official's discretion, other appropriate individuals, organizations, or associations may be permitted to participate in the hearing as amicus curiae (friends of the court) with respect to any legal or factual issues relevant to the complaint. Any documents submitted by the amicus curiae must be included in the record.

(m) If the parties to the hearing are located in more than one State or are located in the same State but access to the hearing location is extremely inconvenient for one or more parties as determined by the State hearing official, the hearing official must:

(1) Whenever possible, hold a single hearing at a location convenient to all parties or their representatives wishing to appear and present evidence, with all such parties and/or their representatives present.

(2) If a hearing location cannot be established by the State hearing official under paragraph (m)(1) of this section, the State hearing official may conduct, with the consent of the parties, the hearing by a telephone conference call from a State agency office. If the hearing is conducted via telephone conference call the parties and their representatives must have the option to participate in person or via telephone.

(3) Where the State agency is not able, for any reason, to conduct a telephonic hearing under paragraph (m)(2) of this section, the State agencies in the States where the parties are located must take evidence and hold the hearing in the same manner as used for appealed interstate unemployment claims in those States, to the extent that such procedures are consistent with this section.

[81 FR 56352, Aug. 19, 2016, as amended at 88 FR 82732, Nov. 24, 2023]