U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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Overview of Procedures

Please consult Part 2423, Subparts B, C, and D, of the Authority's Regulations for authoritative guidance on procedures regarding unfair-labor-practice cases.

Prehearing Procedures

After a Regional Director issues an unfair-labor-practice complaint, and the Respondent files an answer to the complaint, the parties may voluntarily participate in alternative dispute resolution using the Settlement Judge Program

If parties are unable to settle their case, each party usually files a prehearing disclosure at least 14 days prior to the hearing.  A party’s prehearing disclosure includes a witness list, a brief synopsis of the expected testimony of each witness, documents to be offered into evidence, and the theory of the case. 

Then, the parties usually participate in a prehearing conference conducted by the Administrative Law Judge, which occurs at least 7 days prior to the hearing.  The conference is designed to discuss, narrow, and resolve issues raised in the complaint, answer, and disclosures.  Parties should be prepared to discuss matters such as outstanding motions, stipulations of fact, and subpoena requests.  All parties must participate in the prehearing conference.

Stipulated Records and Motions for Summary Judgment

If the parties agree that no material issue of fact exists, then the parties may jointly submit a motion to the Administrative Law Judge to consider the case based on stipulations of fact. 

Any party may move for summary judgment.  A party moving for summary judgment must demonstrate that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.  A moving party must file a motion for summary judgment at least 10 days prior to the hearing.  Where the Administrative Law Judge decides all issues by summary judgment, there will be no hearing.

Hearing and Post-Hearing Procedures

Administrative Law Judges conduct hearings in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act, affording all parties due process, which includes the right to appear in person or by counsel, to examine and cross-examine witnesses, and to introduce evidence.  The General Counsel has the burden of proving the allegations of the complaint by a preponderance of the evidence.  The Respondent has the burden of proving any affirmative defenses. 

Note:  Parties may engage in settlement discussions even after their hearing has begun.

The Recommended Decision

After the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge usually issues a written recommended decision.  The recommended decision sets forth the issues, findings of fact, conclusions of law, credibility determinations, as necessary, and a recommended disposition or order.  The Administrative Law Judge serves the recommended decision on the parties and transmits it to the Authority.

At the discretion of the Administrative Law Judge, and on joint motion from the parties, the Administrative Law Judge may issue an oral decision at the close of the hearing.  By moving for an oral decision, the parties waive their rights to file post-hearing briefs.  After the hearing, the Adminstrative Law Judge transmits a copy of the oral decision, excerpted from the transcript, together with any supplementary matters necessary to complete the decision, to the parties and to the Authority.

Exceptions to a Judge's Decision

A party wishing to file exceptions to an Administrative Law Judge’s decision must do so within 25 days after the date of service of the decision and in conformance with Part 2429 of the Authority’s Regulations.  On review, the Authority issues a decision affirming or reversing, in whole or in part, the Administrative Law Judge’s decision or disposing of the matter as is otherwise deemed appropriate.  A party may appeal the Authority’s decision to an appropriate appellate court on a petition for judicial review under § 7123 of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute.  The Office of the Solicitor represents the FLRA in court. 

If the parties file no exceptions, then the Administrative Law Judge’s decision becomes final and binding on the parties, and the Authority adopts, without precedential significance, the Administrative Law Judge’s findings.