• The Not So Innocuous Unemployment Compensation Hearing
  • March 20, 2005 | Author: Anne M. Radolinski
  • Law Firm: Fredrikson & Byron, P.A. - Minneapolis Office
  • Testimony at an unemployment compensation hearing has the potential to come back to haunt an employer if the former employee later decides to bring a discrimination, wrongful discharge or other lawsuit. Although such testimony has always been allowed to be introduced in proceedings before human rights agencies, the Minnesota legislature has restricted its use in subsequent lawsuits. Even so, most employers involve their counsel in unemployment compensation hearings when there is reason to believe the former employee will pursue litigation or an agency charge. A recent federal district court decision confirms their wisdom in doing so. The court ruled that it was not bound by the state statute limiting the use of testimony from an unemployment compensation hearing. Klyuch v. Freightmasters, Inc., No. 03-6135 (Dist. Ct. Ord. February 9, 2005).

    While the court did not allow the evidence to be used under the circumstances presented in that case, the decision suggests that employers may be confronted with inconsistent or damaging testimony from an unemployment compensation hearing in a subsequent lawsuit. Companies are advised to continue to involve counsel in unemployment compensation hearings where the individual may later file a discrimination or retaliation charge with an agency or institute employment litigation.