Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 60.2. Unemployment Compensation
Chapter 6. Benefits
12/2/2022

Article 5. Claims Adjudication.

§ 60.2-619. Determinations and decisions by deputy; appeals therefrom.

A. 1. A representative designated by the Commission as a deputy, shall promptly examine the claim. On the basis of the facts found by him, the deputy shall either:

a. Determine whether or not such claim is valid, and if valid, the week with respect to which benefits shall commence, the weekly benefit amount payable and the maximum duration thereof; or

b. Refer such claim or any question involved therein to any appeal tribunal or to the Commission, which tribunal or Commission shall make its determination in accordance with the procedure described in § 60.2-620.

2. When the payment or denial of benefits will be determined by the provisions of subdivision A 2 of § 60.2-612, the deputy shall promptly transmit his full finding of fact with respect to that subdivision to any appeal tribunal, which shall make its determination in accordance with the procedure described in § 60.2-620.

B. Upon the filing of an initial claim for benefits, the Commission shall cause an informatory notice of such filing to be mailed to the most recent 30-day or 240-hour employing unit of the claimant and all subsequent employing units, and any reimbursable employing units which may be liable for reimbursement to the Commission for any benefits paid. However, the failure to furnish such notice shall not have any effect upon the claim for benefits.

C. Notice of determination upon a claim shall be promptly given to the claimant by delivering or by mailing such notice to the claimant's last known address. In addition, notice of any determination which involves the application of the provisions of § 60.2-618, together with the reasons therefor, shall be promptly given in the same manner to the most recent 30-day or 240-hour employing unit by whom the claimant was last employed and any subsequent employing unit which is a party. The Commission may dispense with the giving of notice of any determination to any employing unit, and such employing unit shall not be entitled to such notice if it has failed to respond timely or adequately to a written request of the Commission for information, as required by § 60.2-528.1, from which the deputy may have determined that the claimant may be ineligible or disqualified under any provision of this title. The deputy shall promptly notify the claimant of any decision made by him at any time which in any manner denies benefits to the claimant for one or more weeks.

D. Such determination or decision shall be final unless the claimant or any such employing unit files an appeal from such determination or decision (i) within 30 calendar days after the delivery of such notification, (ii) within 30 calendar days after such notification was mailed to his last known address, or (iii) within 30 days after such notification was mailed to the last known address of an interstate claimant. For good cause shown, the 30-day period may be extended. A claim that the Commission has determined to be invalid because of monetary ineligibility shall first be subject to review only upon a request for redetermination pursuant to § 60.2-629. The Commission shall issue a new monetary determination as a result of such review, and such monetary determination shall become final unless appealed by the claimant within 30 days of the date of mailing. The Commission shall clearly set out the process for requesting a redetermination and the process for filing an appeal on each monetary determination issued. Monetary ineligibility does not include an appeal on the effective date of the claim, unless the claimant has requested and received a redetermination of the monetary determination pursuant to § 60.2-629.

E. Benefits shall be paid promptly in accordance with a determination or redetermination under this chapter, or decision of an appeal tribunal, the Commission, the Board of Review or a reviewing court under §§ 60.2-625 and 60.2-631 upon the issuance of such determination, redetermination or decision, regardless of the pendency of the period to file an appeal or petition for judicial review that is provided in this chapter, or the pendency of any such appeal or review. Such benefits shall be paid unless or until such determination, redetermination or decision has been modified or reversed by a subsequent redetermination or decision, in which event benefits shall be paid or denied for weeks of unemployment thereafter in accordance with such modifying or reversing redetermination or decision. If a decision of an appeal tribunal allowing benefits is affirmed in any amount by the Commission, benefits shall continue to be paid until such time as a court decision has become final so that no further appeal can be taken. If an appeal is taken from the Commission's decision, benefits paid shall result in a benefit charge to the account of the employer under § 60.2-530 only when, and as of the date on which, as the result of an appeal, the courts finally determine that the Commission should have awarded benefits to the claimant or claimants involved in such appeal.

Code 1950, § 60-49; 1954, c. 203; 1966, c. 30; 1968, c. 738, § 60.1-61; 1970, c. 104; 1972, c. 692; 1974, c. 466; 1976, c. 708; 1980, cc. 408, 426; 1982, c. 363; 1986, c. 480; 1995, c. 515; 1997, c. 202; 1999, c. 79; 2013, c. 771; 2022, cc. 668, 716, 754.

§ 60.2-620. Hearing and decision on appeal.

A. Appeals filed under § 60.2-619 shall be heard by an appeal tribunal appointed pursuant to § 60.2-621. Such appeal tribunal, after affording the claimant and any other parties reasonable opportunity for a fair hearing, shall have jurisdiction to consider all issues with respect to the claim since the initial filing thereof. Such tribunal shall affirm, set aside, reverse, modify, or alter the findings of fact and decision of the deputy, and may enter such order or decision with respect to the claim as such appeal tribunal finds should have been entered. However, no such order or decision shall affect benefits already paid except in accordance with the provisions of § 60.2-633.

B. The parties shall be duly notified of such tribunal's decision, together with its reasons therefor, which shall be deemed to be the final decision of the Commission, unless within thirty days after the date of notification or mailing of such decision, further appeal is initiated pursuant to § 60.2-622. However, for good cause shown the thirty-day period may be extended.

Code 1950, § 60-50; 1968, c. 738, § 60.1-62; 1976, c. 708; 1980, c. 426; 1986, c. 480; 1995, c. 515; 1999, c. 79.

§ 60.2-621. Appeal tribunals.

In order to hear and decide disputed claims expeditiously, the Commissioner shall establish one or more impartial appeal tribunals consisting in each case of either (i) a salaried examiner or (ii) a tribunal consisting of three members, one of whom shall be a salaried examiner, who shall serve as chairman, one of whom shall be a representative of employers and the other of whom shall be a representative of employees. Each of the latter two members of the tribunal in (ii) of this section shall serve at the pleasure of the Commissioner and be paid a fee of not more than ten dollars per day of active service on such tribunal plus necessary expenses. No person shall participate on behalf of the Commission in any case in which he is an interested party. The Commissioner may designate alternates to serve in the absence or disqualification of any member of an appeal tribunal. The chairman shall act alone in the absence or disqualification of any other member and his alternates. In no case shall the hearings proceed unless the chairman of the appeal tribunal is present.

Code 1950, § 60-51; 1968, c. 738, § 60.1-63; 1986, c. 480.

§ 60.2-622. Commission review.

A. The Commission (i) may on its own motion affirm, modify, or set aside any decision of an appeal tribunal on the basis of the evidence previously submitted in such case, or direct the taking of additional evidence by an appeal tribunal, or receive such evidence itself, or (ii) shall permit any of the parties to such decision to initiate further appeals before it. The Commission may remove to itself or transfer to another appeal tribunal the proceedings on any claim pending before an appeal tribunal. Any proceeding so removed to the Commission shall be heard in accordance with the requirements of § 60.2-620. The Commission shall promptly notify the interested parties of its findings and decision.

B. 1. Any decision of the Commission, upon a hearing on appeal, shall become final 10 days after the date of notification or mailing, and judicial review shall be permitted the claimant or any interested party claiming to be aggrieved. The Commission shall be deemed to be a party to any judicial action involving any such decision, and shall be represented in any such judicial action by the Office of the Attorney General.

2. Any such decision by the Commission involving (i) whether an employing unit constitutes an employer or (ii) whether services performed for or in connection with business of an employing unit constitute employment for such employing unit, from which no judicial review is had pursuant to subsections C and D of § 60.2-500, shall be conclusive in any subsequent judicial proceedings involving liability for taxes by the Commission against any employing unit which was a party to the proceedings held before the Commission.

C. The Commissioner shall have the power to designate a special examiner to hear appeals to the Commission under this section. The Commissioner may authorize and empower such special examiner to decide any appeal so heard, in which event the decision of the special examiner shall be the final decision of the Commission under this section, subject to judicial review under § 60.2-625.

Code 1950, § 60-52; 1968, c. 738, § 60.1-64; 1977, c. 445; 1986, c. 480; 1995, c. 515; 1996, c. 106; 2005, cc. 47, 91.

§ 60.2-623. Procedure generally; confidentiality of information.

A. The manner in which disputed claims shall be presented, reports required from the claimant and from employers, the conduct of hearings and appeals before any deputy, appeal tribunal or the Commission, and transcripts prepared shall be in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Commission for determining the rights of the parties. Such regulations need not conform to common law or statutory rules of evidence and other technical rules of procedure. A full and complete record shall be kept of all proceedings in connection with a disputed claim. All testimony at any hearing upon a disputed claim shall be recorded, but need not be transcribed unless the disputed claim is further appealed and a timely request for a hearing before the Commission has been made in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Commission. In lieu of providing a transcript, and with the consent of all parties who participated in the hearing, the Commission may provide a digital or other electronic recording of the testimony taken at any hearing, which recording may be transmitted in any medium provided that the recording is protected from unauthorized interception by reasonable security measures.

B. Information furnished the Commission under the provisions of this chapter shall not be published or be open to public inspection, other than to public employees in the performance of their public duties. Neither such information, nor any determination or decision rendered under the provisions of § 60.2-619, 60.2-620 or 60.2-622, shall be used in any judicial or administrative proceeding other than one arising out of the provisions of this title; however, the Commission shall make its records about a claimant available to the Workers' Compensation Commission if it requests such records. The Commission may also, in its discretion, furnish copies of the transcript of hearings to any party.

C. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection B, the Commission shall, on a reimbursable basis, furnish wage and unemployment compensation information contained in its records to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and Virginia's child support enforcement agency for their use as necessary for the purposes of the National Directory of New Hires established under § 453 (i) of the Social Security Act.

D. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection B, the Commission shall, upon written request, furnish any agency or political subdivision of the Commonwealth such information as it may require for the purpose of collecting fines, penalties, and costs owed to the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions. Such information shall not be published or used in any administrative or judicial proceeding, except in matters arising out of the collection of fines, penalties, and costs owed to the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions.

Code 1950, § 60-53; 1968, c. 738, § 60.1-65; 1972, c. 764; 1986, c. 480; 1988, c. 766; 1994, c. 203; 1996, cc. 108, 130; 1997, c. 385; 1998, cc. 91, 745; 2012, c. 50.

§ 60.2-623.1. Party's recording of hearing.

A. Any party to a compensation hearing of the Virginia Employment Commission may employ the use of a court reporter to record for transcription the proceeding, provided it is done at the party's own expense.

B. In the event the Commission's transcript of the proceeding is lost, damaged, or parts are missing, a transcript existing as a result of subsection A of this section may be used in addition to any full or partial Commission transcript.

1986, c. 129, § 60.1-65.1.

§ 60.2-624. Witness expenses.

Witnesses subpoenaed pursuant to this chapter shall be allowed expenses at a rate fixed by the Commission. Such expenses shall be deemed a part of the expense of administering this title.

Code 1950, § 60-54; 1968, c. 738, § 60.1-66; 1986, c. 480.

§ 60.2-625. Judicial review.

A. Within thirty days after the decision of the Commission upon a hearing pursuant to § 60.2-622 has been mailed, any party aggrieved who seeks judicial review shall commence an action in the circuit court of the county or city in which the individual who filed the claim was last employed. In such action against the Commission, the Commission and any other party to the administrative procedures before the Commission shall be named a defendant in a petition for judicial review. Such petition shall also state the grounds upon which a review is sought; it shall be served upon a member of the Commission or upon such person as the Commission may designate, and such service shall be deemed completed service on all parties. There shall be left with the party so served as many copies of the petition as there are defendants, and the Commission shall forthwith mail one such copy to each such defendant. With its answer, the Commission shall certify and file with the court all documents and papers and a transcript of all testimony taken in the matter, together with its findings of fact and decision therein. In any judicial proceedings under this chapter, the findings of the Commission as to the facts, if supported by evidence and in the absence of fraud, shall be conclusive, and the jurisdiction of the court shall be confined to questions of law. Such actions and the questions so certified shall be heard in a summary manner at the earliest possible date. An appeal may be taken from the decision of the court to the Court of Appeals in conformity with Part Five A of the Rules of Supreme Court and other applicable laws.

B. From any circuit court decision involving (i) the provisions of § 60.2-612 or § 60.2-618, (ii) whether an employing unit constitutes an employer or (iii) whether services performed for or in connection with the business of an employing unit constitute employment for such employing unit, the Court of Appeals shall have jurisdiction to review such decision regardless of the amount involved in any claim for benefits. It shall not be necessary, in any proceeding under this chapter, to enter exceptions to the rulings of the Commission or an appeal tribunal, and no bond shall be required upon an appeal to any court. Upon the final determination of such judicial proceeding, the Commission shall administer the Unemployment Compensation Fund in accordance with such determination.

C. The Commission shall have the right to appeal a decision of a circuit court in any proceeding under this chapter.

1980, c. 463, § 60.1-67.1; 1982, c. 24; 1984, c. 703; 1986, c. 480; 1987, c. 567; 1988, c. 766; 1996, c. 573.

§ 60.2-626. Oaths and witnesses; subpoenas.

In the discharge of the duties imposed by this title, the chairman of an appeal tribunal and any duly authorized representative or member of the Commission shall have power to administer oaths and affirmations, take depositions, certify to official acts, and issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, and other records deemed necessary as evidence in connection with a disputed claim or the administration of this title.

Code 1950, § 60-36; 1968, c. 738, § 60.1-41; 1986, c. 480.

§ 60.2-627. Failure to obey subpoenas; orders of court; penalty.

A. In case of contumacy by, or refusal to obey a subpoena issued to any person, any court of this Commonwealth within the jurisdiction of which the inquiry is carried on or within the jurisdiction of which such person guilty of contumacy or refusal to obey is found or resides or transacts business, upon application by the Commission or its duly authorized representative, shall have jurisdiction to issue to such person an order requiring such person to appear before an appeal tribunal, a commissioner, the Commission, or its duly authorized representative, in order to produce evidence or to give testimony concerning the matter under investigation or in question. Any failure to obey such court order may be punished by the court as contempt.

B. Any person subpoenaed by the Commission who, without just cause, fails or refuses to attend and testify or to answer to any lawful inquiry or to produce books, papers, correspondence, memoranda and other records, when it is within his power to do so, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

C. Each day any violation of such court-issued subpoena, court order, or Commission-issued subpoena continues shall be deemed to be a separate offense.

Code 1950, § 60-37; 1968, c. 738, § 60.1-42; 1986, c. 480; 2020, c. 1261.

§ 60.2-628. Protection against self-incrimination.

No person shall be excused from attending and testifying or from producing books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, and other records before the Commission in any cause or proceeding before the Commission, on the ground that the testimony or evidence, documentary or otherwise, required of him may tend to incriminate him or subject him to a penalty or forfeiture. However, no individual shall be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture for or on account of any transaction, matter, or thing concerning which he is compelled, after having claimed his privilege against self-incrimination, to testify or produce evidence, documentary or otherwise, except that such individual so testifying shall not be exempt from prosecution and punishment for perjury committed in so testifying.

Code 1950, § 60-38; 1968, c. 738, § 60.1-43; 1986, c. 480.

§ 60.2-629. Redetermination of claims.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this title, the Commission may, at any time within one year from the date the deputy's determination becomes final pursuant to § 60.2-619, redetermine any monetary determination issued by a deputy from which no appeal was taken by the claimant. Notice of any such redetermination shall be given promptly to the interested parties, and an appeal from such redetermination may be filed within the time and in the manner prescribed for an appeal from any original determination. If no such appeal is filed such redetermination shall be final. Any redetermination hereunder shall be limited to monetary determinations containing (i) an error in computation or (ii) newly discovered wages of the claimant pertinent to such determination.

Code 1950, § 60-56; 1968, c. 738, § 60.1-68; 1986, c. 480.

§ 60.2-630. Authority to set aside or vacate determinations and decisions.

The Commission may, in its discretion, at any time before a determination or decision becomes final pursuant to §§ 60.2-619, 60.2-621, or § 60.2-622, with good cause set aside or modify any such determination or decision.

1981, c. 74, § 60.1-68.1; 1986, c. 480.

§ 60.2-631. Board of Review.

A. The Commissioner, in his discretion, is hereby authorized to appoint a Board of Review consisting of three members, one of whom shall be designated chairman for a term of six years. The terms of the members first taking office shall be two, four, and six years, respectively, as designated by the Commissioner at the time of the appointment. Vacancies shall be filled by appointment by the Commissioner for the unexpired term. During his term of membership on the Board no member shall serve as an officer or committee member of any political organization. The members of the Board shall be compensated in a manner determined by the Commission. The Commission shall furnish the Board such stenographic and clerical assistance as the Board may require. All compensation of the members of the Board and all necessary expenses for the operation thereof shall be paid out of the administrative fund provided for in §§ 60.2-306 through 60.2-309 and §§ 60.2-311 through 60.2-313. The Commissioner may at any time, after notice and hearing, remove any member for cause. The Commissioner may, after thirty days' notice to the members of the Board and upon a finding that the Board is no longer needed, abolish the same.

B. 1. The Board shall meet upon the call of the chairman. It shall have the same powers and perform the same functions vested in the Commission in this title for review of decisions by an appeal tribunal, including the power to administer oaths and affirmations, take depositions, certify to official acts, and issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers, correspondence, memoranda and other records deemed necessary as evidence in connection with disputed claims.

2. The Board may hold its hearings in the county or city where the claimant was last employed, except that hearings involving the provisions of subdivision A 2 of § 60.2-612 shall be held in the county or city where the claimant was last employed. When the same or substantially similar evidence is relevant and material to matters in issue in claims by more than one individual or in claims by a single individual with respect to two or more weeks of unemployment, the same time and place for considering each such claim may be fixed, hearings thereon jointly conducted, and a single record of the proceedings made.

C. The Commission may issue such regulations as it deems necessary for the procedure of the Board in the conduct of its hearings. During the time the Board is organized under authority of the Commissioner, the Commission shall have no jurisdiction under § 60.2-622. Any decision of the Board shall become final ten days after the date of notification or mailing and judicial review shall be permitted the claimant, the Commission or any interested party claiming to be aggrieved. In any judicial action involving any such decision the Commission shall be represented by the Office of the Attorney General. Any decision of the Board from which no judicial review is sought within the time prescribed in § 60.2-625 shall be conclusive against any party to the hearing before the Board and the Commission in any subsequent judicial proceedings involving liability for taxes under this title.

D. Within the time specified in § 60.2-625 the Commission, or any party to the proceedings before the Board, may obtain judicial review by filing in the circuit court of the county or city in which the individual who filed the claim was last employed, in the Commonwealth, a petition for review of such decision. In any such proceeding any other party to the proceeding shall be made a party respondent. The Commission shall be deemed to be a party to any such proceeding. The petition need not be verified. A copy of such petition shall be served upon the Commission and each party to the proceeding held before the Board at least thirty days prior to the placing of the petition upon the docket. The mailing of a copy of such petition to each party at his last known address shall be sufficient service. The Commission shall file along with its petition or answer a certified copy of the record of the case, including all documents and papers and a transcript of all testimony taken in the matter, together with the Board's findings, conclusions and decision therein.

E. In any proceeding under this section the Board's findings of facts, if supported by the evidence and in the absence of fraud, shall be conclusive and the jurisdiction of the court shall be confined to questions of law. The court may order additional evidence to be taken by the Board, which such additional evidence, findings of fact or conclusions, together with the additional transcript of the record, shall be certified by the chairman of the Board and filed by him with the court. Such petition for review shall be heard in a summary manner and shall have preference over all other cases on the docket, except cases in which the Commonwealth is a party.

F. An appeal may be taken from the decision of such court to the Court of Appeals in conformity with Part Five A of the Rules of Supreme Court and other applicable laws. From any such decision involving (i) the provisions of § 60.2-612 or § 60.2-618, (ii) whether an employing unit constitutes an employer or (iii) whether services performed for or in connection with the business of an employing unit constitute employment for such employing unit, the Court of Appeals shall have jurisdiction to review such decision regardless of the amount involved in any claim for benefits. It shall not be necessary, in any proceeding before the Board, to enter exceptions to its ruling, and no bond shall be required upon any appeal to any court. Upon the final determination of such judicial proceeding, the Board shall enter an order in accordance with such determination.

Code 1950, § 60-57; 1966, c. 30; 1968, c. 738, § 60.1-69; 1974, c. 466; 1984, c. 703; 1986, c. 480; 2022, c. 668.