(A) Whenever the director of job and family services has reason to believe that the unemployment of twenty-five or more individuals relates to a labor dispute, the director, within five calendar days after their claims are filed, shall schedule a hearing concerning the reason for unemployment. Notice of the hearing shall be sent to all interested parties, including the duly authorized representative of the parties. The hearing date shall be scheduled so as to provide at least ten days' prior notice of the time and date of the hearing. A similar hearing, in such cases, may be scheduled when there is a dispute as to the duration or ending date of the labor dispute.
(B) The director shall appoint a hearing officer to conduct the hearing of the case under division (A) of this section. The hearing officer is not bound by common law or statutory rules of evidence or by technical or formal rules of procedure, but shall take any steps that are reasonable and necessary to obtain the facts and determine whether the claimants are entitled to benefits under the law. The failure of any interested party to appear at the hearing shall not preclude a decision based upon all the facts available to the hearing officer. The proceeding at the hearing shall be recorded by mechanical means or by other means prescribed by the director. The record need not be transcribed unless an application for appeal is filed on the decision and the chairperson of the unemployment compensation review commission requests a transcript of the hearing within fourteen days after the application for appeal is received by the commission. The director shall prescribe rules concerning the conduct of the hearings and all related matters and appoint an attorney to direct the operation of this function.
(C) The director shall issue the hearing officer's decisions and reasons therefor on the case within ten calendar days after the hearing. The hearing officer's decision issued by the director is final unless an application for appeal is filed with the commission within twenty-one days after the decision was mailed to all interested parties. The director, within the twenty-one-day appeal period, may remove and vacate the decision and issue a revised determination and appeal date.
(D) Upon receipt of the application for appeal, the full commission shall review the director's decision, and then schedule a further hearing on the case, disallow the application without further hearing, or modify or reverse the director's decision. The commission shall review the director's decision within fourteen days after receipt of the decision or the receipt of a transcript requested under division (B) of this section, whichever is later.
(1) When a further hearing is granted, the commission shall make the director's decision and record of the case, as certified by the director, a part of the record and shall consider the director's decision and record in arriving at a decision on the case. The commission's decision affirming, modifying, or reversing the director's decision, following the further appeal, shall be mailed to all interested parties within fourteen days after the hearing.
(2) A decision to disallow a further appeal or to modify or reverse the director's decision shall be mailed to all interested parties within fourteen days after the commission makes the decision. A disallowance is deemed an affirmation of the director's decision.
(3) The time limits specified in this section may be extended by agreement of all interested parties or for cause beyond the control of the director or the commission.
(E) Except as otherwise specified in this division, an appeal of the commission's decision issued under division (D) of this section may be taken to the court of common pleas as provided in section 4141.282 of the Revised Code. Notwithstanding division (B) of section 4141.282 of the Revised Code:
(1) If the operations of an employer involved in a labor dispute under this section are located in only one county, then appeal of the commission's decision under division (D) of this section shall be taken to the court of common pleas of the county where the employer's operations are located.
(2) If the operations of an employer involved in a labor dispute under this section are located in more than one county, then appeal of the commission's decision under division (D) of this section shall be taken to the court of common pleas of the county where the largest number of the claimants worked for the employer.
(F) A labor dispute decision involving fewer than twenty-five individuals shall be determined under section 4141.28 of the Revised Code, and the commission shall determine any appeal from the decision pursuant to section 4141.281 of the Revised Code and within the time limits provided in division (D) of this section.
Effective Date: 10-31-2001; 09-05-2005