2017 ORS 656.724¹
Administrative Law Judges
  • appointment
  • qualifications
  • term
  • performance survey
  • removal procedure

(1) The Workers’ Compensation Board chairperson, after consultation with the board, shall employ Administrative Law Judges to hold such hearings as may be prescribed by law. An Administrative Law Judge must be a member in good standing of the Oregon State Bar, or the bar of the highest court of record in any other state or currently admitted to practice before the federal courts in the District of Columbia. Administrative Law Judges shall qualify in the same manner as members of the board under ORS 656.716 (Board members not to engage in political or business activity that interferes with duties as board member) (2). The board chairperson, after consultation with the board, may appoint Administrative Law Judges to serve for a probationary period of 18 months or less prior to regular employment.

(2) Administrative Law Judges are in the unclassified service under ORS chapter 240, and the board shall fix their salaries in accordance with ORS 240.245 (Application of chapter to exempt service).

(3)(a) The board chairperson, after consultation with the board, shall establish criteria whereby each Administrative Law Judge shall receive an annual performance evaluation. Such criteria shall include, but not be limited to, work quality and productivity.

(b) The employment of each Administrative Law Judge shall be subject to formal review by the board chairperson every four years. Complaints and comments filed with the board chairperson regarding the official conduct, competence or fitness of an Administrative Law Judge, as well as the board’s records, shall be reviewed by the board chairperson. Not less than 90 days prior to the expiration of the probationary period, or within 180 days but not less than 90 days prior to each four-year review, the board chairperson shall solicit comments from attorneys practicing in the field of workers’ compensation. These comments and all complaints and other records filed with the board chairperson regarding the official conduct, competence or fitness of an Administrative Law Judge shall be reviewed by the board. The board chairperson shall conduct an annual survey of all attorneys regularly participating in workers’ compensation cases, in such manner as to allow the attorneys to remain anonymous while rating the Administrative Law Judges as to knowledge of workers’ compensation law, judicial temperament, capability to handle hearings, diligence, efficiency and other similar factors. The results of the survey shall be published by the board chairperson, listing each Administrative Law Judge by name.

(c) Notwithstanding ORS 240.240 (Application of chapter to unclassified or management service) and in accordance with ORS 240.555 (Suspension, reduction, demotion or dismissal) and 240.560 (Appeal procedure), an Administrative Law Judge may be removed at any time, for official misconduct, incompetence, inefficiency, indolence, malfeasance or other unfitness to render effective service.

(4) Administrative Law Judges have the same powers granted to board members or assistants under ORS 656.726 (Duties and powers to carry out workers’ compensation and occupational safety laws) (2)(a), (b), (c) and (d).

(5) A presiding Administrative Law Judge shall be appointed by the board chairperson and shall serve as presiding Administrative Law Judge at the pleasure of the board chairperson. The presiding Administrative Law Judge shall perform such administrative duties as the board chairperson may delegate. The board chairperson may designate another Administrative Law Judge to serve as acting presiding Administrative Law Judge during any period when the presiding Administrative Law Judge is absent or disabled.

(6) Notwithstanding subsections (1) to (5) of this section, the board chairperson, after consultation with the board, may employ any member of the Oregon State Bar to serve as an Administrative Law Judge on a temporary basis, not to exceed one year, when the board chairperson determines that such employment is necessary in the conduct of the business of the Hearings Division. Criteria and procedures for selecting and employing such Administrative Law Judges shall be identical to those established for regularly employed Administrative Law Judges.

(7) It is the declared purpose of this section to foster and protect the Administrative Law Judges’ ability to provide full, fair and speedy hearings and decisions. [1965 c.285 §53a; 1965 c.564 §6; 1967 c.180 §1; 1971 c.695 §9; 1973 c.774 §1; 1979 c.677 §1; 1979 c.839 §19; 1981 c.535 §44; 1985 c.212 §11; 1987 c.884 §13; 1989 c.1094 §4; 1990 c.2 §39; 1995 c.332 §51; 1999 c.876 §8]

Law Review Cita­tions

55 OLR 432-445 (1976); 16 WLR 519 (1979); 22 WLR 559 (1986)

Chapter 656

Notes of Decisions

Party having af­firm­a­tive of any issue must prove it by preponderance of evidence unless legislature fixes some different quantum of proof. Hutcheson v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 288 Or 51, 602 P2d 268 (1979)

Amend­ments to existing statutes and enact­ment of addi­tional statutes by 1995 legisla­tion generally apply to pending cases and to orders still ap­pealable on June 7, 1995, effective date. Volk v. America West Air­lines, 135 Or App 565, 899 P2d 746 (1995), Sup Ct review denied

Amend­ments to existing statutes and enact­ment of addi­tional statutes by 1995 legisla­tion do not extend or shorten procedural time limita­tions with regard to ac­tions taken prior to June 7, 1995, effective date. Motel 6 v. McMasters, 135 Or App 583, 899 P2d 1212 (1995)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Benefit unavailability for inmates engaged in prison work programs, (1996) Vol 48, p 134

Law Review Cita­tions

24 WLR 321, 341 (1988); 32 WLR 217 (1996)

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 656—Workers’ Compensation, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors656.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2017, Chapter 656, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano656.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.