Preparing For A Better Hearing
If you intend to present written evidence or documents, you must provide it to the other side at least five (5) calendar days before the hearing. The names and addresses are shown on the hearing notice. Do not send it to the Department to be served. Documents and evidence that is not exchanged may delay the hearing and may not be allowed. If the other side is unwilling to give you documents you need, you must request in writing that the Department issue a subpoena which you must complete and serve on the other party so that the other party has at least seven business days before the hearing to respond. The written request should be sent to the hearing section by mail or e-mail DOL.Hearings@illinois.gov and the request/envelope clearly marked "Subpoena Request". Telephone requests will not be accepted. You must have three copies of all documents or written material you want to present at the hearing;
- one copy for you,
- one for the Judge, and
- one for the other side.
Day of Hearing
If you are scheduled for an in-person hearing, both parties will be scheduled for an in-person hearing and you should arrive 15 minutes prior to the scheduled hearing time. Entrance into the building requires a valid government-issued photo identification. Silence and/or turn off all mobile devices. If you are scheduled for a telephone hearing, both parties will be scheduled for a telephone hearing. The Department will initiate the phone calls for a telephone hearing. All calls placed by the Department are blocked. If your phone has privacy manager or anonymous call blocker, the call may not go through.
What I Can Do to Present My Best Case at the Hearing
Before the hearing, write down the points you want to cover and the documents you want to present and put them in order by either date or an order you want to present the documents. Write down questions you want to ask the other side. Write down your employment history or the claimant’s history especially the history relating to the claim. If you bring witnesses write down the questions you want to ask witnesses. Witnesses should have first-hand knowledge of the facts. Testify only when it is your turn. Do not disrupt others or argue with the other side. Each party will have the opportunity to be heard. Any participant who becomes abusive or disruptive during the hearing will be excluded from the proceeding and the Administrative Law Judge will render a decision based upon the evidence in the record. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) may have to make credibility determinations based upon the testimony of the witnesses and is allowed to draw adverse inferences. Candor (truthfulness) is expected and if a party does not know an answer to a question they party should state they do not know rather than just guess. Your ALJ will not speak directly or indirectly with one party before or after the hearing regarding any substantive issue on a claim scheduled for hearing before him/her.
Please note, an authorized representative may attend the hearing but an non-attorney representative party cannot make an argument, examine or cross-examine witnesses, make objections, cite or interpret case law, make legal arguments, or otherwise act in a manner that constitutes the practice of law.
What Occurs at the Hearing
The Administrative Law Judge will start the hearing by explaining the process and order of testimony. You are responsible for presentation of your case in a clear manner. The Department does not provide an attorney for either party. The hearing will be recorded, and the witnesses will be placed under oath to tell the truth. The Claimant will proceed with his/her case first, followed by the Employer. You will be given an opportunity to testify, present other witnesses or ask questions of the other party’s witnesses. The Judge will attempt to have the parties agree on as many items as possible. The Judge expects the parties to cooperate on issues of fact as well as the authenticity of documents. Each party must be prepared to agree to as many facts and documents about which there is not a dispute. Only evidence presented at the hearing will be considered. The Judge may also ask the parties questions to obtain a full and complete record. The hearing will not be held open for missing documents or something you forgot. If this is the case, you may have to return for a continued hearing.
Decision After Hearing
You will not receive a decision at the time of hearing. You will receive a decision via U.S. Mail return receipt requested. If your address changes, notify the Department by mail or e-mail DOL.Hearings@illinois.gov including your wage claim number on the correspondence. Calling the Department to check on the status of the decision will not cause the decision to be issued faster.
Resolution Without a Hearing
An employer who wants to resolve the claim without a hearing can immediately pay the claim. The hearing will not be cancelled until the resolution is complete. Even if you have conversations about resolution, you must be prepared to proceed unless the hearing is cancelled by the Department.
If you are hearing impaired and require special assistance, kindly email the Department outlining your needs at DOL.Hearings@illinois.gov as soon as you receive your Notice of Hearing.
What If I Do Not Speak English
Proceedings are conducted in English; if you do not speak English and need an interpreter, send a letter to the hearing section or e-mail DOL.Hearings@illinois.gov with your case number stating you require translation assistance and identify the language you speak. When you arrive for the hearing, inform the receptionist upon arrival, identifying the language you speak and the need for a translator.
Notice to Respondents
An officer, director, employee, or agent of a corporation/LLC is allowed to attend and participate in a formal administrative hearing and provide factual and clarifying information and documents, provide opinions based upon facts, or other acts consistent with a witness, but such persons will not be allowed to enter an appearance on behalf of the corporation/LLC nor examine or cross-examine a party or witness; make evidentiary, procedural or other legal objections; cite, file or interpret case law, statutes, administrative ruling or other legal authority; make legal arguments or interpretation; or provide opening and closing statements which constitute a legal argument; or otherwise act in a manner which could be considered as the practice of law as determined by the Administrative Law Judge. However, an officer, director, employee, or agent of a company who is named individually on the Notice of Hearing may appear pro se (on one's own behalf) and the limitations set forth above do not apply to such a person representing himself/herself.