Colorado Unemployment Law – appeal of hearing officer decision

Posted by: May 20, 2015By Brian Stutheit

This Colorado unemployment lawyer’s blog discusses

unemployment appeals

to the Colorado industrial claims appeals office after a

hearing officer decision.

Hearing officers are attorneys who function as administrative law judges. In our experience the hearing officers at unemployment appeals usually try to be fair, and they make the right decision much more often than they make mistakes. But  hearing officers sometimes make mistakes.  What are the odds you will win an unemployment appeal from a hearing officer’s decision?  Of course, the outcome always depends on the facts.  However, here is some Colorado law which will help you to assess the odds of  successfully overturning a hearing officer decision.

Appeals of hearing officer rulings are filed with the Industrial Claims Appeals Office (ICAO). The ICAO panelists have brief resumes posted at:

Two lawyers from up the Industrial Claims Appeals Panel will review an appeal. It is these two panelists who decide whether to overturn a decision of the hearing officer. As a general rule, it is hard to overturn a hearing officer ruling. The hearing officer is solely responsible to weigh the evidence, assess credibility and resolve conflicts in the evidence.  Goodwill Industries of Colorado Springs v. Industrial Claims Appeals Office.  The Appeal Panel will not make new or additional factual findings to resolve conflicts in the evidence.  Clark v. Colorado State University.   However, the ICAO will assess the evidence to see if the hearing officer’s findings are “contrary to the weight of the evidence.” Factual findings which are contrary to the evidence at hearing will be set aside.  Federico v. Brannan Sand & Gravel Co.

We have had success appealing a hearing officer decision when the hearing officer misinterpreted the law, or did not allow our client to present all her evidence at the hearing.  We never have success when the appeal is simply an argument that the other side lied.  We sometimes have success appealing when the hearing officer’s ruling seems to have disregarded important testimony.