(a) Proceedings shall be conducted in the English language. The notice advising a Party of the hearing date shall also include notice of the Party's right to request an interpreter for a Party or witness who cannot speak or understand English, or who can do so only with difficulty, or who is deaf or hearing impaired as defined under Evidence Code section 754.
(b) A request for an interpreter for a Party or witness shall be submitted as soon as possible after the requesting Party becomes aware of the need for an interpreter and prior to the commencement of the hearing. The request should include information that (1) will enable the Hearing Officer and Department to obtain an interpreter with appropriate skills; and (2) will assist the Hearing Officer in determining whether the Department or the requesting Party should pay for the cost of the interpreter.
(c) Upon receipt of a timely request, the Hearing Officer shall direct the Department to provide an interpreter and shall also decide whether the Department or the requesting Party shall pay the cost of the interpreter, based upon an equitable consideration of all the circumstances, including the requesting Party's ability to pay.
(d) A person is qualified to serve as an interpreter if he or she (1) is on the current State Personnel Board List of Certified Administrative Hearing Interpreters maintained pursuant to Government Code section 11435.25; and (2) has also been examined and determined by the Department to be sufficiently knowledgeable of the terminology and procedures generally used in these proceedings.
(e) In the event that a qualified interpreter under subpart (d) is unavailable or if there are no certified interpreters for the language in which assistance is needed, the Hearing Officer may qualify and appoint another interpreter to serve as needed in a single hearing or case.
(f) Before appointment of an interpreter, the Hearing Officer or a Party may conduct a brief supplemental examination of the prospective interpreter to see if that person has the qualifications necessary to serve as an interpreter, including whether he or she understands terms and procedures generally used in these proceedings, can explain those terms and procedures in English and the other language being used, and can interpret those terms and procedures into the other language. An interpreter shall not have had any prior substantive involvement in the matter under review, and shall disclose to the Hearing Officer and the Parties any actual conflict of interest or appearance of conflict. Any condition that interferes with the objectivity of an interpreter constitutes a conflict of interest. A conflict may exist if an interpreter is an employee of, acquainted with, or related to a Party or witness to the proceeding, or if an interpreter has an interest in the outcome of the proceeding.
(g) The Hearing Officer shall disqualify an interpreter if the interpreter cannot understand and interpret the terms and procedures used in the hearing or prehearing conference, has disclosed privileged or confidential communications, or has engaged in conduct which, in the judgment of the Hearing Officer, creates an appearance of bias, prejudice, or partiality.
(h) Nothing in this section limits any further rights extended by Evidence Code section 754 to a Party or witness who is deaf or hard of hearing.
NOTE: Authority cited: sections 55, 59, 1742(b), and 1773.5, Labor Code. Reference: section 754, Evidence Code; sections 11435.05 through 11435.65, and 68560 through 68566, Government Code; and section 1742(b), Labor Code.
1. New section filed 1-15-2002; operative 1-15-2002 pursuant to Government Code section 11343.4 (Register 2002, No. 3).