PROCEDURES AND GUIDELINES FOR THE HEARING BOARD
A. Function of the Hearing Board
It is the Board's function to conduct a full and fair hearing of the cases before it, to receive appropriate evidence and testimony, and to exercise its best judgment in reaching a decision based upon the record before it and consistent with the AFA-CWA Constitution and Bylaws and policies.
B. Determination Whether a Case will be Heard
1. Notification of Charges
The International Office will notify the Hearing Board members promptly when a request has been made for a hearing before the Hearing Board.
2. Decision Whether to Accept Jurisdiction
If the accused member is a Local Executive Council member or an Officer of the Union, or has no active affiliation with any Local Council, or if the accused members are from more than one Local Council, the Hearing Board shall hear the charges. In other situations, the Hearing Board shall only hear those cases where, in its opinion, good cause is shown for the exercise of its jurisdiction. If the Hearing Board declines a request for it to hear a case, the case shall be heard by the accused member's Local Executive Council. Article X.D.3., 5. and 6. The Chairperson of the Hearing Board will communicate with other Board members to decide whether to accept jurisdiction of a case, which determination shall be made no later than fifteen (15) days from the receipt of the request that the Board hear the case.
C. Time and Location of Hearing
1. If the Hearing Board has or accepts jurisdiction, a hearing shall be held within sixty (60) days after receipt by the accused of the Hearing Board's decision to hear the charges. Article X.D.3. The Board, subject to the application time limits, will designate the date for the hearing, and any adjournments thereof, and provide written notice thereof to the parties by certified mail, return receipt requested. Article X.D.7.
2. a. The Hearing Board may, at its discretion, determine what form of full and fair hearing is appropriate for any case brought before it, for example, full in-person evidentiary hearing, teleconference, 'paper' hearing decided on written submissions, etc. If the Hearing Board holds a full evidentiary hearing it is established Hearing Board practice that hearings be held at the International Office in Washington, D.C.
b. The Hearing Board is empowered to make procedural rulings and issue procedural orders to ensure the efficient and effective execution of its duties. This shall include the authority to entertain such motions or requests as may be filed by the parties in a given case.
c. Where there are no material issues of fact in dispute the Hearing Board may decide the merits of a case after a paper hearing or upon a motion to dismiss filed by one of the parties to the case.
3. In acting on any request for a continuance, the Board shall act consistently with the time requirements set forth in Article X.D.3., 5. and 8. Accordingly, it is established Board practice to require the party seeking a continuance to waive its right to insist upon adherence to the requirement that the Appeal Board issue its decision no later than one hundred twenty (120) days from the date charges were initially filed. Article X.. F. 3.
D. Order of Presentation before the Hearing Board
1. Brief review by the Hearing Board Chairperson of the Order of Presentation and Other Hearing Guidelines, described below, to enable all concerned parties to understand how the hearing will be conducted.
2. Reading of the charges by the Board's Chairperson, followed by a request of the accused whether s/he intends to contest some or all of the charges, with an identification of those charges s/he intends to contest.
3. Designation of an AFA-CWA active member in good standing whom the accuser and/or charging party may elect to designate as her/his representative. Special attention is directed to Article X.D.5. Both the accused and the charging party shall have the right to designate and be represented by an active member in good standing. There is no provision for the presence before the Board of non-AFA-CWA active member representation or legal counsel. The accused and the charging party may avail themselves of whatever assistance they may wish, but legal counsel may not appear before the Board, unless of course the designated representative is an AFA-CWA active member in good standing who happens to have legal credentials.
4. Presentation of opening statements by each side, the charging party first. Such statements should be used to briefly inform the Board what the case is about and what the parties intend to demonstrate during the course of the hearing.
5. Presentation of evidence, if any, on behalf of the charging party, to substantiate the charges and relief requested. The accused shall have the right to cross-examine any witnesses presented by the charging parties. The Board may, in its discretion, allow redirect examination and recross examination.
6. Presentation of defense, if any, on behalf of the accused parties, to refute the charges or the relief requested. The charging parties shall have the right to cross-examine any witnesses presented by the accused. The Board may, in its discretion, allow redirect examination and recross examination.
7. Members of the Board may ask questions at any time, although the typical Board practice is for Board members to defer any questioning of a witness until the parties have concluded their questioning.
8. Presentation of rebuttal evidence, if any.
9. Closing arguments: After all evidence has been presented, the Board will afford the parties a brief recess to prepare a closing argument, summarizing their respective cases. Closing argument will first be presented on behalf of the accused, to be followed by closing argument on behalf of the charging parties.
10. Reasonable time limits may be imposed, consistent with a full and fair hearing.
E. Other Guidelines for the Conduct of Hearings before the Hearing Board
1. The Chairperson of the Hearing Board will preside over the hearing, unless all Board members concur in designating another Board member as Chairperson for the particular case.
2. Whether or not the accused member appears at a hearing, evidence either for or against such member may be received. Article X.D.5.
3. Strict legal formalities do not govern the conduct of hearings before the Hearing Board. The Board is not a court of law and the Board does not attempt to "practice law." The goal is to allow a full and fair presentation of the evidence and arguments in support of each side to the controversy. The Hearing Board will make its decision on the basis of the record before it.
4. Hearings before the Hearing Board are limited to the parties to the proceedings, their designated representatives, witnesses, and the Hearing Board members. The cases presented on behalf of the charging party and the accused are held in common hearing session, rather than each side presenting its case privately.
5. Hearing Board sessions are not tape-recorded. Any party desiring to record the proceedings shall arrange in advance for stenographic services and shall assume total costs involved, including a copy for the Hearing Board, unless the parties mutually agree that a stenographic report should be made of the hearing, in which case the costs will be borne equally by the charging party and the accused. If the party not originally requesting a stenographic report subsequently requests a copy, it shall be provided, and the costs shall then be borne equally. The Hearing Board has the right to arrange for a transcription of the hearing in its discretion.
6. The parties are expected to authenticate documents placed before the Board with a sponsoring witness, if the parties are unable to stipulate to authenticity.
7. Written statements, even if notarized, are not accepted in lieu of testimony, since they afford no opportunity for cross-examination.
8. Rulings of the Board relating to the admissibility of evidence shall be in the discretion of the Board and will be announced by the Chairperson. Any Board member may request a recess and conference by the Board prior to the announcement of any such ruling.
9. Written briefs or statements of position are not required. In view of the time limitations placed upon the Hearing Board, no briefs or written statements of position will be accepted after the close of the hearing. Any brief which is submitted should include a Statement of Issues, Statement of Facts, Statement of Arguments, and in the case of the charging parties, a statement of the Remedy sought.
10.The Hearing Board shall maintain a copy of all evidence received in connection with the hearing, and any decisions which it has rendered, to be available for use by the Appeal Board in the event of an appeal. Article X.F.2.
F. The Hearing Board Decision
1. The Hearing Board's decision shall be based upon the record before the Hearing Board.
2. The Hearing Board shall render its decision as promptly as possible after the conclusion of the hearing, but no later than fifteen (15) days from the date of the hearing. Article X.D.4. If time does not permit each Board member to sign the decision, the content of which s/he approves, the Board member may signify her/his consent to such decision by sending a mailgram to the AFA-CWA Office, or a fax from an AFA-CWA field office, stating: "I concur in the Hearing Board's written decision in the case of_______ and authorize its publication over my signature." The decision shall sustain or dismiss the charges in whole or in part, and, if it sustains the charges in whole or in part, shall affix whatever penalties or disciplinary action it deems proper. The decision shall be in writing, and sent certified mail, return receipt requested, to all parties, and a copy shall be furnished to the AFA-CWA International Secretary-Treasurer for the permanent records at the Office. Article X.D.8. A separate opinion may be filed with the decision by any Board member who so desires.
G. Other Hearing Board Guidelines
1. Flight Pay Loss and Expenses: The Hearing Board has no authority to approve flight pay loss or expenses for parties to the hearing or for any parties who attend the Hearing Board sessions.
2. Disqualification of Board members: It is the policy of the Board that a member disqualify her/himself in any case involving her/his own airline.