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An appeal is your written notice that you disagree with a TWC decision and want your case decided through the appeal process. State law gives TWC sole authority in disputed wage claims; no other state agency or official can affect the outcome of an appeal. To participate in an appeal you must meet submission deadlines.
The appeal process is structured so that you do not need an attorney. You may choose to have an attorney or other person represent you at your own expense.
There are three levels of appeal. You start with the first level, and if you disagree with that decision, you may proceed through the other levels.
The first step in the appeals process is an appeal to the Appeal Tribunal. The Appeal Tribunal is the name the Texas Payday Law gives to hearing officers who hold wage claim hearings. Each appeal case has only one hearing officer.
The first appeal is a telephone hearing, except that when a sign-language interpreter is required the hearing may be in-person instead.
The claimant and employer may present testimony, witnesses, and documents relevant to its case. During the Appeal Tribunal hearing, the hearing officer will determine what is relevant and make sure that the record is complete. After the hearing, the hearing officer will mail a decision to the interested parties.
These instructions are for the first step in the appeals process, which is an appeal to the Appeal Tribunal. The first step is to appeal in writing to TWC.
You must appeal in writing within 21 calendar days from the date that we mail you the Preliminary Wage Determination Order, which is shown at the top of that form. If the twenty-first day falls on a federal or state holiday, you have until the next business day to submit your appeal.
You can submit your written appeal online, in person at your Workforce Solutions office, or by mailing or faxing your appeal letter to the Special Hearings Department at the address or fax number on your Preliminary Wage Determination Order. You cannot submit an appeal by e-mail or over the telephone. If you choose to fax the information, keep the paperwork that indicates successful transmission of your appeal.
Your letter or appeal form must include:
Keep a copy of your appeal for your records.
Inform us in writing as early as possible if you need accommodations for the appeal hearing:
It may take six to eight weeks to receive a hearing information packet with information about your appeal. TWC will mail you the packet ten to twenty days before your hearing.
The hearing information packet includes:
It is important that you keep your mailing address up to date because we will mail the hearing information packet and appeal decision to the address in our records. Change your address with us as needed in writing by mail or fax to the Special Hearings address or fax number listed under Contact Information.
Allow enough time for your hearing. How long the hearing takes depends on many things, including the number of witnesses, documents, and issues in the case. Usually, hearings take from one hour to four hours to complete.
It is important to prepare all of the documentation, witnesses and evidence that you need to support your side of the issues. It is your responsibility to make sure that both the hearing officer and the other side receive copies of all the documents you wish to refer to before the hearing date. This will increase your credibility and allow the hearing officer to make a just determination of the facts.
Case documentation could include:
All documents must relate directly to the issues on the hearing notice. Be ready to tell who prepared the evidence and how it helps your case.
Any documents you want to present during the hearing must be provided to the hearing officer and to the other party in your appeal (the employee or the employer) if applicable.
If you wish to call witnesses, they should have personal (first-hand) knowledge about the background, policies, incidents, or events regarding the issues on the hearing notice. For example, they either saw the incident, heard a supervisor say something directly, or saw the paperwork connected to the event.
Contact your witnesses before the hearing and have them arrange their schedules so they can participate in the hearing.
During the hearing, you must give the hearing officer your list of witnesses and the contact phone numbers. Have your witnesses remain available for the call until the hearing officer or you release them from the hearing.
If your hearing is in person, simply have your witnesses appear at the hearing location at the time and date for the hearing, or they may participate by phone as stated above.
A subpoena is a written legal order that requires a person to appear at a hearing to testify or produce documents for a hearing.
Subpoenas may be issued at the discretion of the hearing officer. A request for a subpoena will be granted only after the hearing officer determines that the records or witnesses requested to be subpoenaed are relevant to the issues on appeal.
TWC pays the applicable fees for issuing a subpoena.
If you no longer want to proceed with the hearing, you have the option to withdraw your appeal. Only the individual who filed the appeal can withdraw or cancel the appeal.
The withdrawal of your appeal must be done in writing or recorded by contacting the hearing officer and also must contain the specific words that you wish to “withdraw your appeal.”
The appeal can be withdrawn either before or during the hearing.
For telephone hearings, you must provide a phone number where we can reach you for the hearing. Provide your contact information on the day of your hearing, at least 10 minutes before your hearing is scheduled to begin. You can give us your phone number in one of two ways:
If you do not call in on time, you may not be allowed to participate in the hearing.
When it is time for the hearing, the hearing officer will call you and connect all parties and witnesses to a conference call. The hearing will begin when everyone is connected.
All of the hearings are scheduled for the Central Time zone. If you have any questions about when you should call, please call the toll-free number listed on the Notice of Hearing.
It is very important that you provide your phone number for your hearing before the scheduled hearing time and that you take part in your appeal hearing. The hearing officer makes their decision based entirely on the evidence given at the appeal hearing.
If you find you cannot participate in the hearing for any reason, mail or fax a written postponement request as soon as you can. TWC rules allow hearing officers to delay or reschedule hearings only in specific, limited cases.
All hearings are recorded. The law requires the hearing officer to give a very specific opening statement at the beginning of each hearing. This opening statement includes:
The hearing officer will put everyone who will speak under oath, and then answer questions about the opening statement before hearing any testimony.
If you have more than one person present, you must designate one primary representative, which may be you or your chosen representative. That primary representative will be able to:
The hearing officer will hear statements from each side in turn, one witness at a time. The hearing officer will question the witnesses, and then allow them to add relevant information.
The witness’s primary representative will be able to question the witness. The other side can then question the witness. The hearing will follow this procedure until everyone has spoken.
The hearing officer will discuss any documents that were sent in by either party or that are part of the case file. Documents will be admitted into evidence after ruling on any objections by either side.
The hearing officer will then let both sides add any new testimony before ending the hearing.
If you did not participate in the Appeal hearing and disagree with the decision, you can submit a request to reopen your case at the Appeal Tribunal level within 14 calendar days after the mailing date of the decision. However, you must show that you had a good reason for missing the prior hearing.
After the hearing is complete, the hearing officer will mail you a written decision, usually within five to ten working days.
You can request a copy of the CD recording of your hearing. Your written request must include identifying information: your name, appeal number, the last four digits of your Social Security number, and your telephone number and mailing address.
Mail or fax your request in writing to the TWC Special Hearings Department:
It usually takes one to two weeks for you to receive your copy. The first copy is free; there is a small charge for any additional copies. Only parties to the appeal can request a copy of the recording.
If you disagree with the results of the Appeal Tribunal, you may appeal to the Texas Workforce Commission. The Commission will rule on your case after reviewing the Appeal Tribunal decision and listening to the recorded hearing. E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You must appeal in writing within 14 calendar days from the date TWC mailed you the Appeal Tribunal decision. The mailing date is printed on the coversheet of your appeal decision.
You can submit your written appeal online, in person at your Workforce Solutions office, or by mailing or faxing your appeal letter to Commission Appeals at the address or fax number in the instructions included with your Appeal Tribunal decision. You cannot file an appeal by e-mail or over the telephone. If you choose to fax the information, keep the paperwork that indicates successful transmission of your appeal.
A reviewing attorney in Commission Appeals will review the audio-recording of your hearing. The attorney will also review all other evidence accepted at your first appeal hearing. The reviewing attorney will make a recommendation to the Commission regarding the decision in the case.
The Commissioners will review the recommendation separately and will decide whether or not to follow it. Then the Commission will vote on the case and issue a written decision. They may order an additional hearing to gather more evidence, but they usually do not.
We will mail you the decision from the Commission.
If you disagree with the Commission decision, you have two options: a Motion for Rehearing, or an appeal to a civil court.
If you disagree with the Commission decision, you may request a Motion for Rehearing by the Commission within 14 calendar days after the date TWC mailed you the Commission decision. TWC will grant the Motion for Rehearing only if you show these three things
You can submit your written Motion for Rehearing online, in person at your nearest Workforce Solutions office, or by mailing or faxing your letter to Commission Appeals at the address or fax number in the instructions included with your Commission decision. You cannot file a Motion for Rehearing by e-mail or telephone. If you choose to fax the information, keep the paperwork that indicates successful transmission of your Motion for Rehearing.
If you ask for a rehearing and the Commission denies it, you can still appeal that decision to a civil court.
You may appeal to a civil court within 30 calendar days after the date TWC mailed you the Commission decision. You must have completed all the appeal steps available through TWC, except the optional Motion for Rehearing, before appealing to a civil court. The instructions for submitting an appeal to a civil court are included with the Commission decision.
If you win your Commission Appeal and the losing party appeals to civil court, it is important that you cooperate with TWC and the Attorney General, who will represent TWC in the civil court proceeding. Failure to fully cooperate with the Attorney General in the civil court process could result in the case being reversed. Also, since the Attorney General can, by law, only represent TWC, you may wish to hire your own attorney.