Appeals Process

The following is a general description of the Employee Security Appeals Referee’s Office (ESARO) Appeals Process:

Determination Issued by Unemployment Insurance Division (UI)

The UI Division makes benefit and tax determinations, which are mailed to all parties involved in the case.

Benefits : Where the claimant has separated for reasons other than lack of work (quit or fired), or where he or she is otherwise the subject of a determination process, a claims examiner conducts a fact finding interview and determines whether the claimant can receive unemployment benefits.

Tax : UI contributions or tax issues are decided by the Employer Services section of the UI Division. 

Filing an Appeal 
If the recipient of the UI benefit or tax determination does not agree with the outcome, an appeal can be filed. All UI determinations contain information about the appeals rights associated with that determination.

Benefit determinations: The appeal may be made by the claimant where benefits have been denied, or by the claimant’s employer where benefits have been awarded to the claimant. The appeal must be filed within 10 days from the mailing date of the determination. If an appeal is filed after 10, but within 30 days of the mailing date of the determination, the appealing party must establish good cause for not meeting the 10 day deadline in order for the appeals officer to hear the merits of the determination under appeal. [link to HRS 383-38]

Tax notice: Depending on the type of tax issue, the appeal period may be 15 or 20 days after the mailing date of the tax notice. The law does not allow extensions of the appeal period on tax cases. [link to 383-69; 383-74]
Hearing Date 

Once an appeal is filed, the case enters the jurisdiction of the Employment Security Appeals Referees’ Office (ESARO). The Office will set a hearing date for the appeal case to be heard by an appeals officer. The majority of appeal cases are set for hearings 21 to 27 days after the appeal is filed. Parties to the case will be notified of the hearing date, time, place and the issues to be heard. A hearing may be scheduled to be conducted over the telephone rather than in person where it may be a more practical and efficient method of expediting an appeal case.

The Hearing 

All parties to the appeal are provided an opportunity to appear at a hearing where an appeals officer takes evidence and sworn testimony regarding the issue under consideration. The appeals officer will explain the hearing procedures and the issues to be heard. The parties have the right to have representation at the hearing and also to bring witnesses. Although the original decision of the UI Division is made part of the appeals hearing record, the appeals officer hears the case de novo, which means from the beginning, without being bound by the UI determination.

The appeal hearing is recorded. The recording, together with the case file containing any documents entered into evidence, becomes the official record of the appeals officer’s hearing.

Once the hearing is concluded, the appeals officer issues a written decision which contains his/her findings of fact and decision based on law. The party which loses as a result of this decision has 30 days to apply for a reopening of the appeals officer’s decision or file an appeal directly to the circuit court.