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    Danae Hammitt   

Vocational Dispute Resolution

The Vocational Assistance Program is part of the Employment Services Team within the Resolution Section. Its primary purpose is to resolve vocational disputes between Oregon injured workers and insurers.


Many disputes are not black and white, but involve "gray" issues that often lend themselves to compromise and agreement.

Issues typically fall into the following categories:



Because vocational dispute resolution involves facilitation as well as arbitration, the vocational reviewer follows a variety of processes in the pursuit of a solution that may include:
  • Reviewing file materials and resource documents
  • Facilitating in-person or telephone conferences with the parties
  • Visiting a worksite to observe the performance of a particular job
  • Using his or her expertise to review and analyze complex labor market information

When a vocational reviewer facilitates an agreement, he or she will issue a formalized Letter of Agreement between the parties, if the agreement involves provision of services under the vocational assistance rules or an Order of Dismissal, if the worker withdraws the request for review.

If the dispute is not resolved by agreement or dismissal, the reviewer issues a Director's Order. As the director's delegate, the reviewer investigates the facts, weighs the evidence, and renders a decision consistent with the statute and administrative rules governing vocational assistance. A preponderance of evidence is required in order for a party to prevail.

Resolution facts and figures

In fiscal year 2007, Employment Services Team vocational reviewers resolved approximately 459 disputes. Thirty-four percent of those disputes resulted in Director's Orders. Approximately 7 percent were Dismissals and 28 percent were Letters of Agreement. ORS 656.283 requires the director to complete the review "within a reasonable time." The median number of days between the time Employment Services Team receives a request until resolution is 26 days.
For more information contact:
Employment Services Team: 503-947-7816 or 800-452-0288 (toll-free)

If you have questions about this webpage, please contact Danae Hammitt, 503-947-7018.