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Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Division
Melinda K. Poppe, Chief Administrative Law Judge
Thomas Ireson, ALJ-in-Charge (Tucson)

Location Phone FAX
800 W Washington St, Phoenix AZ 85007 (602) 542-5241 (602) 542-4135
2675 East Broadway, Tucson AZ 85716 (520) 628-5188 (520) 628-5182

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Frequently Asked Questions - OSHA Hearings

What statutes and rules govern OSHA hearings at the Industrial Commission?

The Arizona Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973 is contained in A.R.S. §§ 23-401 through 23-433. Section 23-420 addresses hearing rights and procedures.

Additional rules of procedure for ADOSH hearings are set forth in the Arizona Administrative Code, R20-8-801 through R20-8-829.

What happens after a request for hearing has been submtited to the ICA?

After a request for hearing has been filed, the case is referred to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Division for determination. The case is assigned to an ALJ, who usually schedules a hearing within 60 days. Notice of the time and place of hearing is given to all parties.

What is an ALJ?

ALJs are Arizona lawyers who have been members of the State Bar of Arizona for at least five years. Their job is to conduct fair and impartial hearings. They rule on procedural and legal issues that come up before and during the hearing. They listen to testimony presented at the hearing, review the evidence in the file, apply the applicable law, and issue written decisions on the issues presented to them. The powers and duties of an ALJ include the authority to administer oaths, rule upon admissibility of exhibits, regulate the course of the hearing, call and examine witnesses, adjourn hearings, and issue appropriate orders for protection of trade secrets.

What is a prehearing conference?

A prehearing conference may be scheduled by the judge or on motion of one of the parties for the purpose of considering matters that would tend to simplify or expedite the proceedings. Most prehearing conferences are conducted by telephone. Your representative may appear on your behalf unless the ALJ specifically requests your participation.

What is discovery?

Discovery is the prehearing process of exchanging information. Discovery consists of depositions (oral question-and-answer sessions), interrogatories (written questions) and requests for production of documents. A party refusing to cooperate in the discovery process may be required to pay reasonable attorneys' fees. Willful failure to appear for a deposition, answer interrogatories, or produce documents may result in dismissal of the case or an order precluding the introduction of testimony.

Can an ALJ help the parties resolve their dispute without a formal hearing?

Settlement is encouraged at any stage of the proceedings. Upon request of a party, a case can be transferred to an ALJ who will serve as a mediator. Mediation brings the parties (and their representatives) together to talk about their issues without the formality of a hearing. No witnesses or evidence is presented. The mediator helps the parties communicate with one another and work toward a mutually acceptable resolution of the issues. Mediation is confidential. If a settlement is not reached, the case is returned to the ALJ assigned to conduct the hearing.

Where will the hearing take place?

The hearing will either be in the county where the alleged violation occurred or in such other place as selected by the ALJ.

What happens if I fail to appear at the hearing?

Failure of the person requesting the hearing to appear is deemed to be an admission of the validity of any citation, abatement period, or penalty issued or proposed, and a waiver of all rights except the right to receive a copy of the decision and to request review.

Can I call witnesses to the hearing?

All parties are entitled to call witnesses at the hearing. The ALJ is authorized to issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and parties at the hearing.

Who pays for the subpoenas?

The subpoenas are issued and mailed by the ICA without charge to the parties.

Can I ask for documents, too?

The ALJ can also issue subpoenas for the production of reports, papers, contracts, books, accounts and other documents that are relevant and material to the issues in the case.

What are the possible outcomes of a hearing?

An ALJ may affirm, reverse, or modify the disputed action and any penalty imposed.

How soon after the hearing will the ALJ issue a decision?

The ALJ will issue a written decision usually 30-60 days after the last hearing. Copies of the decision are sent to all interested parties.

What if I disagree with the decision of the ALJ?

There is a statement at the end of the decision setting forth the review rights of the parties. A party disagreeing with the decision of the ALJ has fifteen days to file a request for review. The review is heard by the OSHA Review Board.

What if I disagree with the decision of the Review Board?

A party disagreeing with the decision of the OSHA Review Board may filed an appeal with the Arizona Court of Appeals.

Do I have to have a lawyer in an OSHA Hearing?

Under A.R.S. § 23-429, an employer can designate a person or persons to represent him or her in proceedings before an ALJ or the OSHA Review Board. This person does not have to be a lawyer. However, the rules of the Arizona Supreme Court, Rule 31(a)(4)(G), provide that an officer or other duly authorized agent of a corporate employer may not charge a fee for the representation.

May I retain an out of state lawyer to represent me?

Out of state lawyers must comply with Arizona Supreme Court Rule 38 in order to represent a party in Arizona. An out of state lawyer must associate with a lawyer who is a member in good standing of the State Bar of Arizona.

Can I get legal advice from the Industrial Commission?

Industrial Commission employees are not permitted to give legal advice. If you want a lawyer or to get legal advice, you can contact the Maricopa County Lawyer Referral Service at 602-257-4434, or the Pima County Lawyer Referral at 520-623-4625. You can also look in the Yellow Pages of your local telephone directory under Attorneys or Lawyers.