(1) Any person filing an appeal pursuant to subsection (9) of s. 447.207 shall be entitled to a hearing pursuant to subsections (4) and (5) of s. 447.503 and in accordance with chapter 120; however, the hearing shall be conducted within 30 days of the filing of an appeal with the commission, unless an extension of time is granted by the commission for good cause. Discovery may be granted only upon a showing of extraordinary circumstances. A party requesting discovery shall demonstrate a substantial need for the information requested and an inability to obtain relevant information by other means. To the extent that chapter 120 is inconsistent with these provisions, the procedures contained in this section shall govern.
(2) This section does not prohibit any person from representing himself or herself in proceedings before the commission or from being represented by legal counsel or by any individual who qualifies as a representative pursuant to rules promulgated and adopted by the commission.
(3) Any order of the commission issued under this section may include back pay, if applicable, and an amount, to be determined by the commission and paid by the agency, for reasonable attorney’s fees, witness fees, and other out-of-pocket expenses incurred during the prosecution of an appeal against an agency in which the commission sustains the employee. In determining the amount of an attorney’s fee, the commission shall consider only the number of hours reasonably spent on the appeal, comparing the number of hours spent on similar cases and the reasonable hourly rate charged in the geographic area for similar appeals, but not including litigation over the amount of the attorney’s fee. This paragraph applies to future and pending cases.