(1) This rule implements 39-51-2407, MCA, by setting forth procedural steps that shall be followed in contested matters involving unemployment insurance benefit determinations.
(2) Benefit hearings are conducted informally, and in such a manner as to ascertain the substantial rights of the parties. All issues relevant to an appeal are considered and passed upon. Any interested party, any witness, under oath, or affirmation, may present pertinent evidence subject to examination by the appeals referee and to cross-examination by any opposing interested parties.
(3) With the consent of the appeals referee, the parties may stipulate in writing the facts of the case. A hearing may nevertheless be held when the appeals referee finds the stipulated facts to be inadequate for decision in the case.
(4) The appeals referee shall conduct the hearing within 30 days of the filing of an appeal, absent clear and convincing evidence that extraordinary circumstances justify delay. The hearing may be postponed upon a party's written or verbal application to the appeals referee. The appeals referee shall deny a request to postpone unless delay is justified by extraordinary circumstances beyond the requesting party's control.
(5) When the appeals referee does not grant a postponement and a party fails to appear at the hearing, the appeals referee shall issue the determination based upon the best available evidence.
(6) The appeals referee may adjourn any hearing for a reasonable period of time, in order to secure all the evidence that is necessary and to be fair to the parties.