Workers Compensation Hearings Evidentiary Rules

The law is well established that worker's compensation hearings "are generally not required to follow the same technical evidentiary rules that apply to jury trials." Carlisle v. General Motors Corp, 126 Mich. App. 127, 129; 337 N.W.2d 4 (1983). The one exception to this rule is that hearsay evidence is generally inadmissible, as provided in the rules of evidence. Id. In holding MRE 803(4) applicable to worker's compensation proceedings, this Court noted the general rule but asked, "if the board and . . . referees are not to use the adopted rules of evidence, what source shall they look to for rulings on matters of evidence?" Holford v. General Motors Corp, 116 Mich. App. 488, 491, 493; 323 N.W.2d 454 (1982). Worker's compensation proceedings are purely statutory, Hebert v. Ford Motor Co, 285 Mich. 607, 610; 281 N.W. 374 (1938), and "it is the sole prerogative of the Legislature to alter or modify a provision of the WDCA." Feld v. Robert & Charles Beauty Salon, 435 Mich. 352, 364; 459 N.W.2d 279 (1990) (Riley, C.J.). the Legislature authorized the board (now the director of the DCIS) to promulgate and enforce rules of procedure. MCL 418.213(7); MSA 17.237 (213)(7). See Greer v. John E Green Plumbing & Heating Co, 75 Mich. App. 451, 453, n 2; 255 N.W.2d 17 (1977), remanded 406 Mich. 896 (1979) (the worker's compensation bureau has a statutory responsibility to promulgate and enforce reasonable rules of procedure).