Bench & Bar of Minnesota is the official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Subpoenas & Unemployment Appeals

In an appeal hearing for unemployment benefits, the process for a obtaining a subpoena is unique.  Subpoenas are available to a party to compel the attendance of witnesses, the production of documents or other exhibits upon a showing of necessity by the party applying for the subpoenas.  The person or referee able to grant a subpoena is called an unemployment law judge or ULJ.

Tip: A subpoena in an unemployment setting does not require a special process or form.  Instead, request a subpoena by sending a fax at least five business days prior to the scheduled hearing to the ULJ assigned to your case.  If no ULJ has yet been assigned, make reference to the identification number assigned to your case.  This builds a record, compels the ULJ to acknowledge the request, and creates a reference point if needed for any subsequent appeal.

Trap: If a request for a subpoena isn’t made in writing prior to the appeal hearing, the applicant seeking benefits will waive their right to this process by the end of the hearing unless given specific directions by the ULJ.  Of course there are rules that suggest otherwise, but the burden of proof after the fact is extreme.  That being said, be careful in what you ask for.  In most cases, documents sought through a subpoena will pass through the ULJ.  Thus, if an employment file is needed, contact the employer in writing well in advance of the scheduled hearing and ask for a copy of an employment file to prevent damaging records being inadvertently filed with the ULJ.

Jasper Berg




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