To prepare for an appeals hearing:

  • Read the hearing notice carefully.
  • Read all documents that came with the hearing notice to know what has been said about the case. This will help you decide which witnesses should testify in the hearing.
  • Gather all documents, recordings and other evidence that support your case.
  • If the hearing will be held by phone, you must provide copies of your evidence to the appeals referee and to each party before the hearing date. For in- person hearings, make enough copies to give to each party and the appeals referee. If you do not provide copies to the other party and the appeals referee, the appeals referee may not take that evidence into consideration when making a decision in the case.
  • Choose your witnesses and arrange for them to be available for the hearing. 
  • For telephone hearings, provide your witnesses' names and phone numbers by contacting the appeals referee, or by completing and returning the Telephone Hearing Questionnaire that came with your hearing notice. See 04 N.C. Admin. Code 24C .0209.

What should I present at my hearing?

Eyewitness and first-hand testimony is always the best evidence. First-hand testimony includes witnesses who themselves smelled, felt, saw or heard what was said or done. If there is a recording of alleged conduct, the recording is the best evidence, not a witness's testimony about what he or she saw or heard on a recording that is not offered as evidence. If there is an allegation that a party signed documents or submitted something in writing that you believe is relevant to the case, you may submit this evidence, but you must provide a copy of the documents to the appeals referee and the other party.

Can a subpoena be issued to compel evidence or testimony in my hearing?

You should contact the appeals referee listed in your hearing notice and request that a subpoena be issued for the witness and/or other evidence. Subpoena requests must be in writing and comply with 04 N.C. Admin. Code 24C .0401.

Are drug or alcohol test appeals cases different?

Yes. There must be evidence to prove or disprove any test and its results. Evidence should also include work rules and/or policies. The Controlled Substance Examination Regulation Act, N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 95-230 - 235, requires that tests comply with its procedural requirements, unless the test was administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation or Nuclear Regulatory Commission. An employer must establish: (1) that an employee tested positive for a controlled substance; (2) the chain of custody of the drug-testing sample; (3) the reliability of the controlled substance examination; and (4) exactly how the employee violated the employer's policy.

Instead of live testimony from a laboratory representative at a hearing, an affidavit from the lab's authorized representative may be presented to prove controlled substance examination results, chain of custody and compliance with applicable testing and retesting required by law. A positive result from a controlled substance examination constitutes misconduct connected with work if an employer shows compliance with CSERA. Similarly, an employee's refusal to comply with a reasonable and properly implemented drug testing policy, without good cause, constitutes misconduct. The results of a controlled substance examination and compliance with statutory or regulatory procedural requirements may be deemed proven if the claimant admits or stipulates to them during the hearing, or by affidavit. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 96-14.6 and 04 N.C. Admin. Code 24C .0211.