General Unemployment Hearing Information

What does the Office of Administrative Hearings do?

The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) is an administrative court. When a person or business disagrees with a decision made by the Employment Security Department (ESD), OAH will hear and decide the dispute. The judge who hears your case is neutral, and not employed by ESD. The judge is a lawyer who is familiar with unemployment insurance, tax and training laws. Following your hearing, the judge will make an independent decision based on the facts gathered at the hearing.

Who attends the hearing?

The claimant and the employer attend the hearing. They may also have witnesses participate. Someone from ESD may also participate. Each party may have someone represent them.

Do I need a lawyer?

Most people who attend unemployment hearings represent themselves. If you wish, another person may represent you. A friend or a family member may represent you. You may also hire a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer, free or low cost representation may be available. You may contact:

Can I change the hearing date?

The hearing date will be changed only if there is an important reason to do so. Make your request as soon as possible, but at least 24 hours before the hearing. Call the OAH office listed on your Notice of Hearing. You will speak with a judge to explain why you want the hearing date changed. The judge may grant or deny your request.

If you have other things that conflict with the hearing date, try to reschedule those things first. If the hearing date is changed, OAH will mail all parties a new Notice of Hearing with the new date and time. Keep all documents mailed to you for the new hearing date.

What if I do not participate in the hearing?

The hearing is your only opportunity to tell your story and share your documents.

If you requested the hearing but do not participate, your hearing request will be dismissed. ESD’s decision will remain in effect.

If you did not request the hearing and do not participate, the hearing could be held without you.

What if I need an interpreter?

Hearings and decisions are in English. If you or any of your witnesses need an interpreter, you can request a free interpreter. Your friends or family members cannot be your interpreter.

To request an interpreter:

  • Contact OAH at the telephone number on the Notice of Hearing or
  • Click Request Interpreter to view instructions in many different languages

Make your request as soon as possible.

What if I have a disability and require an accommodation?

If you or any of your witnesses have a disability and require an accommodation to participate, contact OAH as soon as possible. You will need to tell OAH about how the disability effects the ability to participate and describe how we can help by accommodating the need so you can access our facilities and services.

Click Request Accommodation to request an accommodation or call OAH at (360) 407-2700 or (800) 583-8271.