Little google search reveals that, this is a SQL Server JDBC Driver bug. See http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/sqldataaccess/thread/2c908b45-6f75-484a-a891-5e8206f8844f/
This will likely be fixed at some point in the Microsoft JDBC driver 4.0, which you can download at http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=11774 However at this time it has still not been addressed.
We had good experience and recommend the open source JTDS drivers for SQL Server, which you can get at http://jtds.sourceforge.net/
Just an update on this topic..
The latest sqljdbc4.jar from the link you provided is dated 3/6/12 but a Designer JDBC import still fails with the same error.
It's also worth noting that the same driver successfuly returns columns using Squirrel.
BTW, I get major/minor errors when using JTDS.
From your experience and the msdn forum thread it appears their issue is still not addressed, so we'll amend the suggestion above.
> BTW, I get major/minor errors when using JTDS.
You have to use an appropriate version. 1.3.0 is for Java 1.7 based upon the MANIFEST.MF. If you're using an older JRE, then you'll want one of the 1.2.x releases.