The reconsideration review process for unemployment benefits is conducted by the same unemployment law judge that reviewed the phone appeal.
In my experience, most applicants are surprised by this. Like you, I agree that this process is unfair. But, some of my most exhilarating moments as an attorney has been during the reconsideration process.
Thus, I do not think the reconsideration review laws should be a reason to refrain from filing an appeal or giving up entirely.
Reconsideration Review Laws
The laws for an unemployment reconsideration come from Minnesota statute 268.105. The part related to a review for an unemployment reconsideration says the following:
A request for reconsideration must be decided by the unemploymentlaw judge who issued the decision under subdivision 1a unless that judge:
(3) has been removed from the proceedings by the chief unemploymentlaw judge.
Exceptions to the Same Judge
As we can see in the above referenced rule, there are three exceptions to the general rule. In my experience, the exception that applies most often is when an Applicant specifically asks for their judge to be reviewed. Unfortunately, this is a difficult request because it usually requires finding a reason the Judge was impartial.
Sometimes, impartiality is obvious because the Judge will suggest they have an alliance with a specific group or employer. Other times, the Applicant needs to search for an specific reason or find out anecdotally.
Proceeding with a Reconsideration
Once an applicant turns their attention towards the drafting stage for a reconsideration, I think the next step is related to a transcript. From there, using Unemployment Laws from Chapter 268 is generally the next step for issue spotting.
Finally, if you are in need of help and want to talk with an unemployment lawyer, please reach out. I wish you the best.