This page gives a brief summary of BOLI's contested case process, with links to reference materials. A nine-page detailed description of BOLI's contested case hearings process, written by BOLI's ALJs in 2015 and originally published by the Oregon Law Institute of Lewis & Clark Law School, can be found by clicking on Overview of BOLI Contested Case Process.
Administrative Prosecution Unit
BOLI’s Administrative Prosecution Unit (APU) prosecutes cases on behalf of the Civil Rights Division (CRD) or Wage and Hour Division (WHD) after the Division has concluded its investigation. An investigative case becomes a contested case when the APU or WHD issue a "charging document" alleging that an individual, entity, or government agency, referred to as a "Respondent," has violated laws that BOLI is authorized to enforce. Contest case proceedings are governed by the Oregon Administrative Procedures Act and administrative rules adopted by BOLI and the Oregon Department of Justice. Some cases referred to the APU are settled or are administratively closed before a "charging document" is issued.
BOLI’s APU includes Administrative Prosecutors and a Chief Prosecutor, all of whom prepare and present contested cases. The Chief Prosecutor is also the manager of APU.
An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who is employed by BOLI, but separate and independent of the APU, presides over all contested case proceedings.
How a Contested Case Begins
BOLI’s contested case procedures differ, depending on whether the case originates in BOLI’s WHD or CRD.
In WHD cases involving wage claims, the WHD issues a "charging document" called an Order of Determination. In other WHD cases involving working conditions, child labor, farm/forest labor contractors, or prevailing wage rate, the APU issues a "charging document" called a Notice of Intent. After an Order of Determination or a Notice of Intent has been issued, a hearing is set when a Respondent files an answer and request for hearing. The WHD issues a Final Order on Default when a Respondent named in either type of charging document does not file an answer and request for hearing or files and answer and request for hearing but does not appear at hearing, resulting in a judgment against the Respondent.
In CRD cases, the APU issues a "charging document" called Formal Charges in which a Respondent is charged with unlawful practices. At the same time, the ALJ issues a Notice of Hearing. A Respondent who does not file an answer may be held in default. Unlike WHD cases, a hearing is still held if the Respondent is held in default in which the Agency must establish a prima facie case in order to prevail, but the Respondent may not participate.
Any Respondent may choose to be represented by an attorney. All government agencies, partnerships, corporations, limited liability companies, and unincorporated associations must be represented by an attorney or an "authorized representative." Individual Respondents may represent themselves. BOLI does not provide attorneys for Respondents.
Cases may be resolved at any time after charges are issued by a written, signed settlement agreement negotiated among the Respondent, the APU, the WHD or CRD, and any complainant or claimant. When a case settles, BOLI’s ALJ incorporates the settlement into a "Final Order Incorporating Informal Disposition" that has the force of law.
Hearings are generally held in the geographic location most convenient for all parties. The hearing itself is a trial-like proceeding that may last a few hours or multiple days, depending on the complexity of the case. At hearing, the Respondent may be represented by an attorney or "authorized representative," except that an “authorized representative” may not represent an individual Respondent. After the hearing, the ALJ issues a written proposed order that addresses all the issues in the case. The APU and Respondent may file written objections ("exceptions") to the proposed order. After the time period for exceptions expires, BOLI’s Commissioner issues a Final Order. A Respondent may appeal a Commissioner's Final Order to the Oregon Court of Appeals.
Links to More Information
A concise summary of all the steps in BOLI’s contested case process is set out in the links immediately below. BOLI’s administrative rules governing contested cases and all published Final Orders may also be accessed by clicking on a link below.
- Administrative Rules for BOLI Contested Cases