Texas Payday Law Appeals — Texas Workforce Commission
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.
- Appeal to the Appeal Tribunal
- Appeal to the Commission
- Motion for Rehearing or Appeal to a Civil Court
Appeal to the Appeal Tribunal
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.
How to Appeal a Determination
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:
- Your name
- Wage claim number
- Your Social Security Number or TWC Tax ID number
- Your current address
- The date TWC mailed you the Preliminary Wage Determination Order
- A copy of the Preliminary Wage Determination Order, if possible
- Any dates on which you will not be able to participate in a hearing
Keep a copy of your appeal for your records.
Accommodations for Your Hearing
Inform us in writing as early as possible if you need accommodations for the appeal hearing:
- If you or your witnesses need interpreters – include needed languages
- If you or your witnesses have a hearing impairment
- If you need access to a telephone or fax machine
Appeal Hearing Notification Details
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:
- The Notice of Telephone Hearing, which includes the date and time of hearing, the telephone number to call for the hearing, and the name and contact information of the hearing officer assigned to the hearing
- Instructions on how to participate in the hearing
- Instructions on how to submit documents for the telephone hearing to the hearing officer and to the other side
- The claim issues up for discussion
Change Your Address
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.
Preparing for Your Hearing
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.
Document Evidence You Want to Present at Your Hearing
Case documentation could include:
- Letters and memos
- Pay stubs or payroll records
- Employee handbooks
- Written authorizations for deductions from wages
- Employment agreements
- Commission agreements and invoices
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.
- For a telephone hearing, mail or fax a copy of all of the documents you want to present to the hearing officer and to the other party. Send them as far in advance as possible. Documents cannot be used if they are not provided in enough time before the hearing begins.
- The hearing officer’s address and fax number is on the first page of the hearing information packet. If there is another party in your case, that person’s mailing address is also on the first page.
- For an in-person hearing, you can bring the documents with you or send them in advance.
Calling Witnesses & Notifying the Hearing Officer
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.
If You Need to Subpoena Witnesses
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.
Withdrawing Your Appeal
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.
Participating in Your Appeal Hearing
Before 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:
- Register online at C2T Online Registration, https://tx.c2tinc.com/register, and follow the instructions on that web site. You will need your Case Number.
- Call TWC at our toll-free number shown on your Notice of Hearing and speak with the receptionist.
If you do not call in on time, you may not be allowed to participate in the hearing.
Beginning 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.
Why You Should Participate
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.
What Happens in the Appeal Tribunal Hearing
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:
- Information identifying the case for the record
- What determination and issues are on appeal
- Who is taking part in the hearing
- Each party’s rights
- The procedures used for the hearing
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:
- Question the witnesses
- Give their own testimony
- Look at and object to documents
Order of Testimony in a Hearing
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.
What to Do If You Did Not Participate in the Appeal 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
After the hearing is complete, the hearing officer will mail you a written decision, usually within five to ten working days.
Request an Audio Recording of Your Hearing
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:
- Special Hearings
Texas Workforce Commission
Attn: CD Duplication
101 E 15th St, Rm 406
Austin, TX, 78778
- Fax: 512-463-9318, Attention: CD Duplication
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.
Appeal to the Commission
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 email@example.com.
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.
Commission Appeal Process
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.
Motion for Rehearing
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
- Important new information about your case
- A compelling reason why you did not present the new information earlier
- Why you think the new information could change the Commission decision
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.
Appeal 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.
Williams, McClure & Parmelee is dedicated to high quality legal representation of businesses and insurance companies in a variety of matters. We are experienced Texas civil litigation attorneys based in Fort Worth who know Texas courts and Texas law. For more information, please contact the law firm at 817-335-8800. The firm’s new office location is 5601 Bridge Street, Suite 300, Fort Worth, Texas 76112.