Claimant found to have voluntarily failed to attend hearing because she did not have good cell phone service during storm 
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Monday, July 29, 2019

Claimant found to have voluntarily failed to attend hearing because she did not have good cell phone service during storm 

By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff

The claimant, an administrative assistant for two lawyers who operated individual law practices, was discharged and granted benefits. A hearing was held after one of the lawyers appealed. The hearing took place on the scheduled day and, while the lawyer participated, the claimant did not because both calls made to her cell phone by the ALJ went straight to voicemail. Although the claimant provided a reasonable explanation as to why her cell phone did not receive either of the ALJ's calls, namely that there was a severe storm, it was up to the claimant to ensure that she could be reached at the cell phone number that she had provided. She had ample notice that any telephonic difficulties could result in the ALJ deciding the case without her attendance, yet she chose to appear telephonically. Her arguments were unavailing as her inability to attend the hearing stemmed from her inattentiveness to the hearing instructions requiring her to have good cell phone reception at the time of the hearing. Because the claimant had an opportunity to be heard and voluntarily failed to participate in the hearing, the court ruled that she was not denied due process when the ALJ conducted the hearing without her participation. The Board's decision to deny benefits was affirmed (Tressa Bailey v. Indiana DWD, Ind. Ct. of App., No. 18A-EX-2638, July 11, 2019).

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