Hearing Procedure Updates:
As of Monday, February 28, 2022, the mask mandate for all Commonwealth employees and contracted vendors was lifted. Although encouraged, masks are now not required to be worn by employees, contractors or visitors while doing business at Commonwealth offices.
In response to the lifting of the mask mandate, the Workers’ Compensation Office of Adjudication (WCOA) will take the following initiatives:
Workers' Compensation Judges (WJC) may now exercise their discretion to schedule mediations virtually or in-person;
WCJ’s are encouraged to continue to schedule non-testimonial hearings (pre-trials, status listings, supersedeas hearings, uncontested matters, etc.) virtually through Microsoft Teams. Recognizing that there may be circumstances requiring an in-person hearing for non-testimonial matters, counsel are instructed to follow current protocols to request a change: file an appropriate WCAIS request with the adjudicating WCJ listing the reasons for the request as well as the position of opposing counsel/party. The type of request to be filed is listed in the updated Judge Questionnaires, the link to which is available on your WCAIS dashboard.
For hearings at which testimony is expected, the individual WCJ will exercise adjudicatory discretion to schedule the hearing in-person or virtually. Should counsel or a party disagree and wish to change the listing from virtual to in-person, or vice versa, they may file an appropriate request listing the reasons for the request as well as the position of opposing counsel. The type of request to be filed is listed in the updated Judge Questionnaires, the link to which is available on your WCAIS dashboard.
These matters should now be discussed by counsel/parties prior to and at the first listing of the dispute before the adjudicating WCJ. We appreciate your patience as we gradually transition into more regularly scheduled in-person events.