On the heels of its May 11, 2020 announcement that it would resume representation case hearings, the National Labor Relations Board announced on Friday that the Division of Judges would resume holding hearings on unfair labor practice complaints effective June 1, 2020. In an announcement posted on the agency’s website, the Board specified that since its earlier suspension of hearings, it has “taken the necessary steps to acquire the licenses and equipment needed to conduct such hearings remotely using online videoconferencing technology.”
According to the announcement:
[E]ffective June 1, the Division of Judges will not sua sponte postpone scheduled hearings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather, prehearing requests for postponement will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Deputy Chief Administrative Law Judge in Washington, D.C. and Associate Chief ALJs in New York and San Francisco under Sec. 102.24 of the Board’s Rules, subject to the right of the parties to request special permission from the Board to appeal the ruling under Sec. 102.26. Motions or objections with respect to holding an in-person versus an online videoconference hearing, or taking particular witness testimony by videoconference, will be considered and ruled on by the designated trial judge pursuant to Sec. 102.35(a)(6) and (8) of the Board’s Rules, likewise subject to the parties’ special appeal rights under Sec. 102.26.
Parties might look to the Board’s discussions in Morrison Healthcare, 369 NLRB No. 76 (May 11, 2020), a representation case, for a sense of how the Board might view the issues implicated by the various methods of presenting testimony, should the motion practice referenced above be considered.