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Is the Ohio Industrial Commission Planning to Resume In-Person Hearings?

By: Mark Barnes

mbarnes@bugbeelawyers.com

Since the Spring of 2020, the Industrial Commission has conducted hearings by telephone in light of the continuing health pandemic caused by the spread of COVID-19.  The Commission has yet to release any public statement about the resumption of in-person hearings.  However, on January 20, 2021, the Commission updated its hearing officer manual, known as Adjudications Before the Industrial Commission to reflect the Commission’s policy regarding the use of electronic devices in hearing rooms.

Under Memo R11, all electronic devices must be placed in silent mode.  Personal computers may be used in hearing rooms, but, may not be used to record, photograph, televise, or transmit any proceeding without first obtaining the Commission’s permission.  Outside the hearing rooms, anyone may use electronic devices to the extent such use is not disruptive.

Interestingly, the Commission updated its manual regarding in-person hearings at a time when the state ramped up the distribution of vaccinations and coronavirus/COVID-19 cases begin to decline.  Although the Commission has not signaled when it will resume in-person hearings, the issuance of Memo R11 suggests in-person hearings will resume at some point.

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