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This week there was one decision on unemployment benefits from the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  The case highlights the law that an applicant is not eligible for unemployment benefits if that applicant was discharged for employment misconduct, unless an exception applies.  Without further ado, here is the summary:


A14-1168, Keith G. Lassiter, Relator, vs. The Bulldog Restaurant NE, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development,Respondent.

Relator challenges the decision of the unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that he was discharged for employment misconduct, arguing that (1) the ULJ failed to make the required credibility findings, (2) the evidence does not substantially support the ULJ’s findings, (3) the ULJ failed to adequately develop the record, and (4) his conduct reflects only an error in judgment.

Relator worked as a bouncer, and the misconduct in this case was physically touching a customer in violation of his employer's policy.  Relator had previously violated the no-contact policy and had been disciplined for it.  As such, the ULJ found that Relator had committed employment misconduct, and was not eligible for unemployment benefits.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the denial.

If you are denied unemployment benefits, or are an employer who wants to challenge a former employee's eligibility for benefits, your best bet is to meet with an attorney who handles unemployment appeals to discuss your options.  To that end, I represent both applicants and employers in unemployment appeals.  Please call (763) 450-9494 today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  Also, Tim is licensed only in state and federal courts in Minnesota.  As such, any information provided in this blog post pertains only to those jurisdictions.  Further, you should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.  

 
 
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There was one decision on unemployment benefits this week from the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  The case highlights the importance of filing an appeal by the deadline stated in the Determination of Eligibility or Ineligibility.  If that deadline is missed, even if you have the best reasons for appealing, and your case is a real "slam dunk," the appeal is over.

A14-0483, Sherrie M. Aubin, Relator, vs. Family Dollar, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development,Respondent.

In this certiorari appeal, relator Sherrie M. Aubin argues that (1) the unemployment-law judge (ULJ) erred by concluding that she failed to file a timely appealand (2) respondent Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s (DEED) online appeal system violated her due-process rights.  More specifically, because the online appeal system was not "affirmatively misleading," it was not an unconstitutional due process violation.  We affirm.

If you are denied unemployment benefits, or are an employer who wants to challenge a former employee's eligibility for benefits, your best bet is to meet with an attorney who handles unemployment appeals to discuss your options.  To that end, I represent both applicants and employers in unemployment appeals.  Please call (763) 450-9494 today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  Also, Tim is licensed only in state and federal courts in Minnesota.  As such, any information provided in this blog post pertains only to those jurisdictions.  Further, you should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation. 

 
 
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Here is a summary of decisions from the Minnesota Court of Appeals on unemployment benefits.  All of these decisions were released on June 3, 2014.  The Appeals Court issued four decisions relating to unemployment benefits this week, including one case that was reversed.  I don't see too many reversals from the Court of Appeals, but they do happen.


1. A13-1507, Daniel Ray Hernandez, Relator, vs. Mydatt Services, Inc.,Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.


Summary: Mydatt Services, Inc., discharged Daniel Hernandez after he asked another employee to conduct video surveillance of a subordinate, violating Mydatt employment policy. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development initially awarded Hernandez unemployment benefits, but Mydatt successfully appealed 
administratively to an unemployment law judge. Because Mydatt terminated Hernandez’s employment because of employment misconduct, we affirm.


2. A13-1505, Stacey J. Jorgenson, Relator, vs.Recover Health Services LLC, Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.


Summary:  Stacey J. Jorgenson was employed by Recover Health Services LLC until she quit. She sought unemployment benefits, but the department of employment and economic development determined that she is ineligible because she quit her employment without a good reason caused by her employer. We affirm.


3. A13-1527, Benjamin C. Van Sant, Relator, vs.Modernistic, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.


Summary: Relator Benjamin C. Van Sant challenges the denial of his claim for unemployment benefits based on a determination that he committed employment misconduct by disregarding a supervisor's instruction about sending unapproved e-mails on policy changes and new procedures to fellow employees. We affirm.


4. A13-1805, Christina Ruscher, Relator, vs. A’viands LLC, Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent

Summary: Relator-employee challenges the denial of her claim for unemployment benefits, arguing that the unemployment law judge (ULJ) erred by determining that she was discharged for employment misconduct. Because substantial evidence does not support the ULJ’s factual finding and because a good-faith error in judgment is not employment misconduct, we reverse.


If you are denied unemployment benefits, or are an employer who wants to challenge a former employee's eligibility for benefiits, your best bet is to meet with an attorney who handles unemployment appeals to discuss your options.  To that end, I represent both applicants and employers in unemployment appeals.  Please call (763) 450-9494 today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  Also, Tim is licensed only in state and federal courts in Minnesota.  As such, any information provided in this blog post pertains only to those jurisdictions.  Further, you should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation. 

 
 
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Tim is teaching a seminar on unemployment benefits in less than two weeks called "Unemployment 101: Application, Process, and Appeals."  The seminar will be held from noon - 1:00 p.m. on Friday, May 23, 2014 at Tim's office, 2140-4th Avenue, Anoka MN 55303. Here is the public event description: In this FREE seminar, we will go over the process of applying for unemployment benefits and appealing an unfavorable determination. ATTORNEYS: This seminar is approved for one standard CLE credit, Event Code 190769. Space is limited, so advance registration is required. Please call (763) 450-9494 to register. Thanks

 
 
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Sometimes, an employer will give you a choice between resigning and being fired.  I don't envy anybody who has made the hard choice to resign or be fired.  If you have made that choice, you may be wondering if you are eligible for unemployment benefits.

Should you apply for unemployment benefits if you were forced to resign?  The short answer is yes, but you should be prepared to appeal if (and when) your application is denied.  For more information on unemployment appeals, see my earlier blog post on the subject.  Here is a link to the article: http://www.balandlaw.com/3/category/unemployment/1.html

The so-called "choice" to resign or be fired is really not much of a choice.  I bet that most workers would prefer not to have a termination on their employment record, and who can blame them?  However, this preference may make you ineligible for unemployment benefits.

The general rule is that you are eligible for unemployment benefits if you were discharged, unless you were discharged for employment misconduct, which is a violation of the standards of behavior that an employer has the right to reasonably expect.  Minn. Stat. 268.095, subd. 4.  However, if you quit employment, you are not eligible for unemployment benefits unless you had good reason to quit caused by the employer.  Minn. Stat. 268.095, subd. 1.

Minn. Stat. 268.095, subd. 3 defines a "good reason to quit caused by the employer" as a reason: "(1) that is directly related to the employment and for which the employer is responsible; (2) that is adverse to the worker; and (3) that would compel an average, reasonable worker to quit and become unemployed rather than remaining in the employment."  However, a "good reason to quit caused by the employer" does not exist if the reasons for the quit were caused by the employee's own employment misconduct.  Id.

The question is whether being forced to resign is a "good reason to quit caused by the employer."  The answer is that it depends.  The question of whether a termination is voluntary or involuntary is determined “not by the immediate cause or motive for the act but by whether the employee directly or indirectly exercised a free-will choice and control as to the performance or non-performance of the act.” Anson v. Fisher Amusement Corp., 254 Minn. 93, 98, 93 N.W.2d 815, 819 (1958); Wing-Piu Chan v. Pagoda, Inc., 342 N.W.2d 174, 175 (Minn.Ct.App.1984)

In other words, if you freely and voluntarily quit your job, UIMN is unlikely to determine that you had "a good reason to quit caused by the employer."  In determining whether a quit was voluntary, UIMN will look at the circumstances in which you quit.  If you were forced to resign because you committed employment misconduct by violating a standard of behavior that your employer had the right to reasonably expect, then you probably did not have a "good reason to quit because 

"[w]hen an employee, in the face of allegations of misconduct, chooses to leave his employment rather than exercise his right to have the allegations determined, such action supports a finding that the employee voluntarily left his job without good cause."

Ramirez v. Metro Waste Control Comm'n, 340 N.W.2d 355 (Minn.Ct.App.1983),

On the other hand, if you were forced to resign for reasons other than employment misconduct, then you may have a "good reason to quit."  The answer -- and outcome -- really depend on the facts of the situation.

Your best bet is to meet with an attorney who handles unemployment appeals to see if you have a "good reason to quit caused by the employer."  To that end, I represent both applicants and employers in unemployment appeals.  Please call (763) 450-9494 today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  Also, Tim is licensed only in state and federal courts in Minnesota.  As such, any information provided in this blog post pertains only to those jurisdictions.  Further, you should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.






 



 
 
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You may be asked to give a statement to an investigator for the police, for an insurance company, or for a government agency other than the police (usually a licensing or regulatory agency).  If you've been asked to give a statement or come to an investigator's office, you're probably wondering what to do next.

The short answer is that you should probably not give a statement because anything that you say can and will be used against you.  I can’t emphasize enough that you should not give a statement or confess, even when the police or an investigator put a lot of pressure on you to do so.  You should only ask to be able to talk to your attorney.  Sometimes, the police will ask you to come to the police station or an investigator's office to be interviewed because you may have information about criminal or other illegal activity.  If you are asked to come to the police station or an investigator's office, I would recommend that you contact an attorney to find out how you should respond because, if you consent to be interviewed, any information that you provide can be used against you.

Sometimes, police or an investigator may want to talk to you because they think you have information on the target of their investigation.  Even if you are not the target of an investigation, I would still recommend that you talk to an attorney before agreeing to be interviewed.  You don't want to incriminate yourself accidentally, or say something inadvertent that turns you into the target of an investigation.

Your best bet, whether you are the target of an investigation or not, is to consult with an attorney before agreeing to give a statement.  I would also recommend having the attorney attend the interview to make sure that your rights are protected.  If you have been called for an interview as part of an investigation, please call me at (763) 450-9494 to discuss your best strategy and available options.

WARNING: The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.



 
 
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If you are receiving, applying for, or appealing a denial of an application for social security disability benefits, you are provably wondering what effect the partial federal government shutdown will have on you.  The short answer is that it depends on where you are in the process.

If you are already receiving benefits under social security disability or supplemental security income, your benefits will continue.  More specifically, the Social Security Administration has stated "Social Security and Supplemental Security Income payments to beneficiaries will continue with no change in payment dates."  As such, if you are already receiving benefits, I wouldn't worry -- at least not now -- about your benefits being suddenly cut off.

If you have already applied for benefits and are awaiting a decision, or if you are about to apply for benefits, I expect that you will experience a delay in the processing of your application.  State disability determination offices, which make the initial determination of whether a person is disabled for purposes of receiving social security disability benefits, are funded at least in part by the Social Security Administration.

In a letter dated September 25, 2013 to the Office of Management and Budget, the Social Security Administration stated:

If we have a lapse in appropriations, we will encourage the [State] Disability Determination Services (DDSs) to continue limited services during a lapse . . . However, because DDS employees are State employees, we cannot direct the States to except or furlough their employees during a lapse. Each State will have to determine whether it can maintain limited DDS operations and pay its employees during a lapse.

I think it's fair to say that the further along in the process you are, the less of a delay you will experience.  In other words, if you submitted your application and disability determination services is currently evaluating your claim, then any delay that you experience will be less than someone who has just submitted an application.  If you just submitted an application, state disability determination services will process all applications that are pending and those applications that have been received before your application.

If you are appealing a denial of your application for social security disability benefits, the answer depends on if you already have a hearing scheduled.  On the one hand, if your hearing has already been scheduled, then the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review will hear your case as scheduled, but you may experience a delay in having your case resolved..  On the other hand, if you have appealed but your hearing has not been scheduled, then you will experience even more of a delay than usual (I usually tell claimants that it will take over a year) in being assigned a hearing date and in resolving your case.  Regardless of whether or not you have a hearing already scheduled, you can reasonably expect delays in getting a written decision.

If you have appealed to the Appeals Council after being denied at the hearing level, then you should expect that your appeal will take even longer than usual.  Typically, I tell claimants that an appeal to the Appeals Council will take at least a year, and probably longer.  The delay that you experience will depend, at least in part, on the length of the government shutdown.

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I will monitor the government shutdown and post an update as conditions warrant.  In the meantime, the Social Security Administration has a webpage that described the effect of the government shutdown on field offices and other social security services.  I encourage you to visit that webpage for more information, especially if you are planning to visit a Field Offices because the services offered there are limited during the government shutdown.  At any rate, here is a link for you:

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/shutdown/

Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. represents applicants and appellants in all stages of social security proceedings, from initial applications to appeals.  Please call (763) 450-9494 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation today!

WARNING: The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.



 
 
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If you have filed or are about to file a bankruptcy petition, you are undoubtedly wondering what effect the federal government shutdown will have on your case.  The United States Judiciary, which includes bankruptcy courts, issued the following statement in response to the partial federal government shutdown:

JUDICIARY OPEN DURING GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

Following a government shutdown on October 1, 2013, the federal Judiciary will remain open for business for approximately 10 business days. On or around October 15, 2013, the Judiciary will reassess its situation and provide further guidance. All proceedings and deadlines remain in effect as scheduled, unless otherwise advised. Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) will remain in operation for the electronic filing of documents with courts.  More locally, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the district of Minnesota issued a similar statement, concluding with: All proceedings and deadlines remain in effect as scheduled and CM/ECF will be available for the electronic filing and review of documents.

The question is how this affects you.  The short answer is that it depends on whether you have already filed for bankruptcy, and if so, how far your bankruptcy case has progressed before the federal judiciary "reassess[es] its situation."  Bankruptcy filers should expect:
  • Delays or cancellation of Meetings of Creditors
  • Delays in confirmation of Chapter 13 plans
  • Delays or cancellation of bankruptcy court hearings

If you have already filed for bankruptcy, then you can reasonably expect some delay in the processing of your case. Likewise, if you have not yet filed your bankruptcy petition, you should expect some delay, and you may not be able to file until the government shutdown has ended.

I suspect that debtors that have already had their Meeting of Creditors, are not reaffirming debts for personal property (such as an automobile) and have no other hearings scheduled in bankruptcy court will experience less delays than debtors whose cases have not progressed so far and do not meet these criteria.  However, if the federal judiciary, including bankruptcy courts, shuts down, then all cases could come to a complete halt.

Still, these potential outcomes and conclusions are only speculation -- and pretty rampant speculation at that --  on my part.  The best course of action is probably to wait for an announcement from the United States Judiciary on October 15, 2013 as to what it is going to do.  I will update this post as appropriate, so please check back for future updates.

Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. represents consumer debtors in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings.  Please call (763) 450-9494 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation today and find out whether declaring bankruptcy is the right option for you!

DISCLAIMER: Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. is a debt-relief agency, and Timothy H. Baland, Esq. is a debt-relief agent.  We help people like you to obtain bankruptcy relief.

WARNING: The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.