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Thompson v. County of Hennepin

May 06, 2003

CARLA THOMPSON, RELATOR,
v.
COUNTY OF HENNEPIN, RESPONDENT, COMMISSIONER OF ECONOMIC SECURITY, RESPONDENT.



Department of Economic Security File No. 519802

Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Wright, Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

It is error for the Commissioner of Economic Security not to order a case remanded to the unemployment law judge when the record shows that allegedly subpoenaed material witnesses did not attend and testify at the hearing before the judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gordon W. Shumaker, Judge

Reversed and remanded

OPINION

Hennepin County Adult Services (HCAS) fired relator Carla Thompson for employment misconduct, alleging that she falsified rule 25 chemical-assessment forms.

The Department of Economic Security (DES) denied Thompson's application for unemployment compensation. At two hearings before an unemployment law judge (ULJ), Thompson presented evidence that she had requested that material witnesses allegedly favorable to her be subpoenaed. Even though the witnesses did not attend the hearing, the ULJ found Thompson disqualified from unemployment benefits because of employment misconduct.

On that record, the commissioner's representative upheld the ULJ's decision. Because it appears that Thompson was not accorded an opportunity to present evidence in her favor, we reverse and remand.

FACTS

Beginning in 1994, relator Carla Thompson was employed full time as a senior chemical-dependency counselor by HCAS and part time by the Salvation Army. For both employers she performed chemical-health assessments, known as rule 25s, for people who could not pay for chemical-treatment services. All rule 25 assessments are required to be submitted to HCAS for approval.

After finding a discrepancy in one of Thompson's rule 25 assessment reports, HCAS conducted a random sample of 40 of Thompson's assessments. In 32 reports, HCAS concluded that Thompson had stated that the clients were admitted into a detoxification program when there were no such admissions.

HCAS discharged Thompson on January 8, 2002, for violating the employer's policies as to conflicts of interest and accuracy of recording client information. The DES disqualified Thompson from eligibility for unemployment compensation because HCAS had discharged her for employment misconduct. She requested a hearing before a ULJ and asked the DES to subpoena her Salvation Army supervisor, June Sinnett.

Sinnett did not appear for the hearing, and the ULJ continued the matter so that Thompson could subpoena both Sinnett and Lucy Quaintance, her HCAS supervisor. Thompson represented that these witnesses would give ...


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