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Preparation Before The Hearing
You are entitled to have an attorney or other representative with you at the hearing, although that is not required. If either party does not have an attorney or representative at the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge will probably ask the questions. Each party should also be prepared to ask questions of all witnesses.
If you or your attorney or representative, or a witness, will be unable to attend the hearing, you may write to the Administrative Law Judge or call the Administrative Law Judge's office and request an adjournment (postponement) of the hearing, giving the reasons for the request. However, adjournments are only granted for exceptionally good reasons. Generally, having another appointment which could be rescheduled will not be a sufficient reason for granting an adjournment. In an emergency, call the Administrative Law Judge's office before the hearing and explain the situation. Sometimes, if all the necessary witnesses are not available, the hearing will be held with the available witnesses, and the hearing will be concluded on another day when any remaining, necessary witnesses are available.
Even if you choose to represent yourself, you will need to decide whether to have witnesses at the hearing. You should ask your witnesses well in advance to participate in the hearing and tell them the date and time of the hearing.
Tell your witnesses to tell the truth about what happened, but do not tell them what to say or how to say it.
If your witness is a person who might not appear voluntarily, you may obtain a subpoena to require that person to appear. The subpoena may be obtained from the Agency or the Administrative Law Judge's office. It should be given to the witness, by the party, a reasonable period of time before the scheduled hearing. The Agency will not deliver subpoenas for the party. After the hearing, a person who appears at a hearing under subpoena can receive a small fee for his or her time, and mileage, paid for and mailed by the Agency.
If the case involves a quit or a firing, the parties should bring as witnesses those persons who have personal knowledge of the details of the quit or firing, such as a supervisor or co-worker.
Since you will be given the opportunity at the hearing to ask questions of the other party and their witnesses, you should consider asking the Agency in advance of the hearing, for a chance to look at the file in the case. From the file, you can see what statements the other party made to the Agency about the case. Often, those are the same statements they will make at the hearing, and you should decide whom you need to bring to the hearing as a witness, and what questions you will ask the person at the hearing about those statements.
It's a good idea to write down, before the hearing, questions you wish to ask the other party, as well as important points you wish to make on your own behalf. Take your notes to the hearing with you. It will give you added confidence, and allow the hearing to proceed more smoothly. However, because your notes are only to refresh your memory, you will not be permitted to read aloud from them as testimony.
Before the hearing, decide what documents (attendance records, employer policy statements, doctors' statements, check stubs) you will need to make your case. Also, be sure to bring the witnesses who can testify about those documents. Doctors' statements and government records (such as safety inspection reports) will generally not require the presence of a witness, though.
If you are hearing-impaired or have difficulty speaking or understanding English, you may request that a qualified interpreter attend the hearing to translate the proceeding. If you need an interpreter you should notify the Administrative Law Judge's office as early as possible. If you bring your own interpreter the Administrative Law Judge may postpone the hearing until an independent interpreter can be obtained by the Administrative Law Judge's office.