Note: The Commission will not be holding a hearing in connection with its review and, absent extraordinary circumstances, cannot consider evidence that was not presented to the appeals referee at the hearing.
General Case Review
Upon receipt of an appeal, the Commission will docket the case and mail a Notice of Docketing to the involved parties advising them of the appeal. A Notice of Docketing is normally mailed within a few weeks of receipt of the appeal document. The Commission will then secure the hearing record from the Office of Appeals. If a timely appeal of the referee's decision has been filed, the Commission will review the hearing record to determine whether the referee's decision is properly supported by the testimony and other evidence presented at the hearing, and whether the referee properly applied the law to the case. The Commission will also consider any written arguments presented by the parties. Upon completion of its review, the Commission will issue a written order explaining the disposition of the case and any further appeal rights available to the parties. If the Commission issues an order constituting final departmental action, that order can only be protested by filing an appeal with the appropriate State District Court of Appeal.
It is the obligation of each party to keep the Commission advised of the party's current address while the appeal is pending before the Commission. The Department of Economic Opportunity does not notify the Commission of address changes reported by claimants to their offices. Additionally, the Department of Revenue does not advise the Commission of changes to employer or employer agent addresses. The Commission is only obligated to mail its order to the last address provided by a party to the Commission
Briefs and Motions
Upon receipt of a timely appeal, the Commission will review the hearing record to determine whether the referee's decision is properly supported by the testimony and other evidence presented at the hearing, and whether the referee properly applied the law to the case. A party, however, may wish to file a brief for the Commission's consideration in connection with its review. (A brief is a formal argument why a party believes a decision is either correct or incorrect as a matter of law. A brief will normally contain citations to the hearing record, Florida Statutes and/or Administrative Code Rules, and case law decisions.) A party, however, is not required to file a brief in connection with an appeal before the Commission. The absence of a brief will not prevent the Commission from reviewing a case. A party filing a brief is required to send a copy to any opposing party.
During the Commission's review, a party may file a motion requesting specific relief by the Commission. Most motions concern a party's request for the Commission to allow additional time for the filing of a brief, or for the Commission to consider additional evidence in connection with an appeal. All motions must be in writing and state, in detail, the relief requested and why the party is legally entitled to that relief. A party filing a motion is required to send a copy to any opposing party.
Important: All briefs and motions should be filed with the Commission in sufficient time to be received and considered by the Commission before the Commission issues its order. (See F.A.C. Rule 60BB-7.004 for the rules governing briefs and motions.)
Newly Discovered Evidence
A party should not resubmit evidence or testimony previously presented to the appeals referee because this evidence and testimony is already part of the hearing record. If any party presents evidence that was not presented to the appeals referee during the hearing, the Commission will review this evidence; however, it cannot accept such evidence into the record and use it in making a decision unless the party presenting the evidence establishes that the evidence is material to the outcome of the case and that, by an exercise of due diligence, it could not have been discovered in time for presentation at the hearing. (See F.A.C. Rule 60BB-7.005 for the rules governing newly discovered evidence.)
Late Appeals to the Commission
The Commission has the authority to review the substance of a referee's decision only if an appeal of that decision is filed with the Commission within 20 calendar-days of the date of the decision. Under very limited circumstances, however, the Commission can accept an untimely appeal as "timely filed" and review the case. If you are filing an appeal outside that 20 calendar-day period, you should fully explain why your appeal is late. The Commission will then consider your reason for the late appeal and decide whether it has a legal basis to accept the appeal as "timely filed."
Failure to Appear for the Hearing
If you did not appear for the last hearing, you should fully explain why you did not participate in the hearing and any efforts you made to postpone the hearing through the referee's office. This reason may control whether the Commission will order the referee to hold another hearing to give you another opportunity to present your evidence.
Upon completion of its review, the Commission will issue a written order explaining the disposition of the case and any further appeal rights available to the parties. If the Commission issues an order constituting final agency action, that order can only be protested by filing an appeal with the appropriate State District Court of Appeal. The appeal rights will be explained on the Commission's Notice of Order.