268.105 Reemployment insurance hearings; appeals.
Subdivision 1. Hearing. (a) Upon appeal the department shall set a time and place for a de novo hearing and give any involved claimant and any involved employer written notice, by mail, not less than ten calendar days prior to the date of the hearing.
(b) The commissioner shall by rule adopt a procedure by which reemployment insurance judges hear and decide appeals, subject to further appeal to the commissioner. The rules need not conform to common law or statutory rules of evidence and other technical rules of procedure. The written report of any employee of the department, except a determination, made in the regular course of the performance of the employee's duties, shall be competent evidence of the facts contained in it.
(c) After the conclusion of the hearing, upon the evidence presented, the reemployment insurance judge shall mail findings of fact and decision to all involved parties. The reemployment insurance judge's decision is final unless a further appeal is filed pursuant to subdivision 3.
Subd. 2. Reemployment insurance judges. The commissioner shall designate regular salaried employees of the department as impartial reemployment insurance judges to conduct hearings on appeals. The commissioner or authorized representative may personally hear or transfer to another reemployment insurance judge any proceedings pending before a reemployment insurance judge. Any proceedings removed to the commissioner or authorized representative shall be heard in accordance with subdivision 1.
Subd. 3. Commissioner review. (a) Within 30 calendar days after mailing of the reemployment insurance judge's decision, any involved party may appeal and obtain a review by the commissioner or an authorized representative. The commissioner within the same period of time may on the commissioner's own motion order a review of a decision.
(b) Upon review, the commissioner shall, on the basis of the evidence submitted at the hearing before the reemployment insurance judge, make findings of fact and decision, or remand the matter back to a reemployment insurance judge for the taking of additional evidence and new findings and decision based on all the evidence. The commissioner may disregard the findings of fact of the reemployment insurance judge and examine the evidence and make any findings of fact as the evidence may, in the judgment of the commissioner require, and make any decision as the facts found by the commissioner require.
(c) The commissioner shall mail to any involved party the findings of fact and decision. The decision of the commissioner is final unless judicial review is sought as provided by subdivision 7.
Subd. 3a. Decisions. (a) If a reemployment insurance judge's decision or the commissioner's decision awards benefits, the benefits shall be promptly paid regardless of any appeal period or any appeal having been filed.
(b) If a reemployment insurance judge's decision modifies or reverses a determination awarding benefits, any benefits paid pursuant to the determination is an overpayment of those benefits subject to section 268.18.
(c) Except as provided in paragraph (d), if a commissioner's decision modifies or reverses a reemployment insurance judge's decision awarding benefits, any benefits paid pursuant to the reemployment insurance judge's decision is an overpayment of those benefits subject to section 268.18.
(d) If a reemployment insurance judge's decision affirms a determination on an issue of disqualification awarding benefits or the commissioner affirms a reemployment insurance judge's decision on an issue of disqualification awarding benefits, the decision, if finally reversed, shall result in a disqualification from benefits only for weeks following the week in which the decision reversing the award of benefits was issued and benefits paid for that week and previous weeks shall not be deemed overpaid and the benefits paid shall not be charged to a contributing employer's account.
(e) If the commissioner, pursuant to subdivision 3, remands a matter to a reemployment insurance judge for the taking of additional evidence, the prior reemployment insurance judge's decision shall continue to be enforced until new findings of fact and decision are made by a reemployment insurance judge.
Subd. 4. Testimonial powers. In the discharge of the duties imposed by this section, the reemployment insurance judge, the commissioner, or authorized representative, may administer oaths and affirmations, take depositions, certify to official acts, and issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, and other records deemed necessary as evidence in connection with the subject matter of the hearing. The subpoenas shall be enforceable through the district court in the district in which the subpoena is issued. Witnesses, other than an involved claimant or involved employer or officers and employees of an involved employer, subpoenaed pursuant to this section shall be allowed fees the same as witness fees in a civil action in district court. These fees shall be deemed a part of the expense of administering this chapter.
Subd. 5. Use of information. (a) All testimony at any hearing conducted pursuant to subdivision 1 shall be recorded. A copy of any recorded testimony and exhibits received into evidence at the hearing shall, upon request, or upon directive of the commissioner, be furnished to a party at no cost. If requested, the representative of a commissioner shall make available a device for listening to the recording.
(b) Testimony obtained under subdivision 1, may not be used or considered in any civil, administrative, or contractual proceeding, except by a local, state, or federal human rights agency with enforcement powers, unless the proceeding is initiated by the department.
(c) No findings of fact or decision issued by a reemployment insurance judge or the commissioner may be held conclusive or binding or used as evidence in any separate or subsequent action in any other forum, except proceedings provided for under this chapter, regardless of whether the action involves the same or related parties or involves the same facts.
Subd. 6. Representation; fees. In any proceeding under these sections, a party may be represented by any agent. Except for services provided by an attorney-at-law, a claimant shall not be charged fees or costs of any kind in a proceeding before a reemployment insurance judge, the commissioner, or by any court or any of its officers.
Subd. 7. Court of appeals; attorney for commissioner. (a) The court of appeals may, by writ of certiorari to the commissioner, review any decision of the commissioner provided a petition for the writ is filed and served upon the commissioner and any other involved party within 30 calendar days of the mailing of the commissioner's decision.
(b) Any involved employer, upon the service of the writ shall furnish a cost bond to the commissioner in accordance with the rules of civil appellate procedure. Upon review before the court of appeals, the commissioner shall, if requested, furnish to the claimant at no cost a written transcript of the testimony received at the hearing conducted pursuant to subdivision 1.
(c) The commissioner shall be deemed to be a party to any judicial action involving any decision and shall be represented by any qualified attorney who is a regular salaried employee of the department and has been designated by the commissioner for that purpose or, at the commissioner's request, by the attorney general.