Department of Employment and Economic Development File No.
E. Gaertner, Amanda M. Sicoli, Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty
& Bennett, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota (for relator)
Nelson, Eli K. Best, Anne B. Froelich, Department of
Employment and Economic Development, St. Paul, Minnesota (for
Considered and decided by Rodenberg, Presiding Judge;
Bjorkman, Judge; and Smith, John, Judge.
exclusion of agricultural labor performed by H-2A visa
holders and J-1 visa holders from the federal definition of
employment under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, 26
U.S.C. ch. 21 (2012), and the Federal Unemployment Tax Act,
26 U.S.C. ch. 23 (2012), does not exclude that labor from
being agricultural employment subject to
unemployment-insurance taxation under Minn. Stat. §
JOHN, JUDGE [*]
affirm the determination of the unemployment-law judge (ULJ)
that relator is obligated to pay unemployment-insurance taxes
on the wages it pays to its H-2A- and J-1-visa-holding
employees because those wages are wages earned in covered
2010, appellant Svihel Vegetable Farm, Inc. has employed
H-2A- and J-1-visa-holders (collectively "visa
employees") on its farm. It has never paid
unemployment-insurance taxes on the wages it pays to its visa
employees. In 2016, DEED audited Svihel's records and
concluded that Svihel owed $154, 726 in
unemployment-insurance taxes on those wages. Svihel appealed.
After a hearing, a ULJ ruled that, because the visa employees
performed "covered employment" not exempt from
taxation, their wages were subject to taxation. Svihel
requested reconsideration, and the ULJ affirmed. Svihel then
petitioned this court for certiorari.
the exclusion of agricultural labor performed by visa
employees from the federal definition of employment exclude
that labor from being agricultural employment subject to
unemployment-insurance taxation under Minnesota law?
Does the evidence in the record reasonably tend to support
the ULJ's conclusion that the J-1 employees did not meet