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How To Prepare a Hearing Before the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board

I believe in checklists. When it comes to preparing my case for a formal hearing before an administrative law judge, I go through a checklist of at least 10 factors that I recommend to you. It is very important that you be thoroughly prepared for your administrative hearing. You should give this formal administrative hearing the same respect and treatment that you would give to a regular court trial. Anyone going into court or into an EDD administrative hearing does not have a 100% chance of winning or losing. During the administrative hearing, the judge has a great deal of latitude. The judge may have his or her own agenda and may take over your case and ask direct examination or cross-examination questions. Always expect the unexpected. If the judge allows you to conduct you own hearing, you will be wise to use my 10-point checklist and expand the list according to your specific needs. Keep in mind that the rules of evidence are not strictly applied in any California administrative type of hearing. Hearsay is allowed. My checklist includes:

  1. Be proactive - only you can do the work to win your case.
  2. Use EDD Form 938, “Quarterly Return Adjustment For.” Properly prepared forms will greatly mitigate the personal income tax portion (PIT) of the overall assessment. You can also take advantage of new internal EDD procedures to greatly reduce the PIT portion.
  3. Interview potential witnesses. All you need are a few good witnesses.
  4. Do not forget discovery. Obtain copies of all EDD files. Expect to make this request several times before receiving anything from the EDD. If necessary, get the judge involved in your discovery efforts.
  5. Carefully review the EDD’s Answer to your petition. The EDD’s primary attack will come from this source.
  6. Review precedent decisions. Do not be afraid to ask the EDD to supply you with all precedent decisions in your area of dispute.
  7. Know the basic rules of evidence. CUIAB hearings are informal, but they are not casual.
  8. Prepare an initial Memorandum of Points and Authorities. Submit it to the judge at or before the hearing.
  9. Organize your case.
  10. Make enough copies of all documents you intend to introduce into evidence. Make three copies of each document – one for the judge, one for the EDD and one for you. Do not mark up the original document.