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The Minnesota Court of Appeals did not release any decisions on employment benefits today, Monday 6/1/15.  Instead, I am summarizing the decisions issued in the past two weeks.

May 18, 2015: A14-1811 Anita P. Doering, Relator, vs. Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator challenges the determinations of the unemployment-law judge (ULJ), arguing that the ULJ’s findings that she had fraudulently received unemployment benefits were not supported by substantial evidence and that relator did not fraudulently fail to report her hours and earnings.   We affirm.

May 26, 2015: A14-2092 Ahmed Ghanim, Relator, vs. FedEx Kinko’s Office and Print Services, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator challenges the unemployment-law judge’s (ULJ) determination that he is ineligible to receive unemployment benefits because he quit his employment without a good reason caused by his employer.  In this case, relator quit because "the job became too difficult for him" due to health concerns which he did not report to his employer. 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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There was one decision on unemployment benefits from the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  The decision underscores the rule that quitting a job without good reason caused by the employer makes an otherwise eligible applicant for unemployment benefits ineligible for those benefits.  The Court of Appeals will affirm factual findings of the Unemployment Law Judge ("ULJ") if those findings are supported by substantial evidence.

A14-1684, Lorraine Rosenthal, Relator, vs. Cardinal of Minnesota, Ltd., Respondent, Department of Employment & Economic Development, Respondent.


Relator Lorraine Rosenthal challenges the denial of her claim for unemployment benefits on the ground that the unemployment-law judge (ULJ) erred in determining that she quit her employment and was therefore ineligible to receive unemployment benefits, even though she had voluntarily retired. Because the ULJ’s factual findings are substantially sustained by the evidence in the record, 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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There were two decisions this week on unemployment benefits from the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  In the first decision, the Court of Appeals concluded that an applicant quit employment when that applicant applied for unemployment benefits.  The second decision is unique because it addresses the issue of whether an overpayment of unemployment benefits is a debt subject to Revenue Recapture and contains a dissent.

1. A14-1418, Amanulah Dharsee, Relator, vs. Rubber Industries, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator challenges the unemployment-law judge’s (ULJ) determination that he is ineligible for unemployment benefits, arguing that he did not have a fair hearing because he did not have an interpreter (although the ULJ continued the hearing so that Relator could obtain an interpreter) and that the ULJ erred in finding that he quit his employment.  Dharsee’s doctor concluded that he was still unable to return to his former position but possibly able to do light-duty work. Dharsee contends that others contacted Rubber Industries on his behalf and learned that no light-duty work was available. In February 2014, Dharsee applied for unemployment benefits, asserting that he had been discharged from his employment. Rubber Industries concluded that Dharsee quit when it received notice of his application for benefits.  The ULJ concluded that Dharsee quit, thereby making him ineligible for unemployment benefits, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision.

2. A14-0727, Eunice Smith, Relator, vs. Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator Eunice Smith challenges a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) unemployment law judge’s (ULJ) decision that she owes a debt recoverable under the Minnesota Revenue Recapture Act. Relator argues on appeal that she owes no debt because the November 20 order opinion reversed without remand and therefore eliminated any debt owed to DEED for overpaid benefits. DEED argues that the November 20 order opinion reversed only the fraud penalty and that the remaining debt is properly subject to recapture. Both parties agree that the Minnesota Revenue Recapture Act procedures were followed and that the sole issue on appeal is whether relator owes a debt.

The Court of Appeals ruled that because the November 20 order opinion is unambiguous in reversing relator’s fraud penalty and determining that relator had not appealed or argued the overpayment issue, the law of the case requires the conclusion that a debt exists and that it is recoverable under the Minnesota Revenue Recapture Act.

In dissent, Judge Chutich wrote:

I respectfully dissent because I disagree with the majority about the effect of our previous order dated November 20, 2013. Without attacking that order collaterally, I note that the plain terms of the order unambiguously reversed the unemployment-law judge’s April 16, 2013 decision on reconsideration. The reconsideration order, in turn, reaffirmed an order dated January 7, 2013, in which the unemployment-law judge specifically considered not only the fraud issue, but also the issue of whether Eunice Smith performed 32 hours or more of services in a week.

Moreover, the January 7 order contained language suggesting that it was a consolidation of the previous decision (issued on December 28, 2012) that pertained to the same two issues (fraud and overpayment), but was simply issued to inform Smith of the amount of the fraud penalty.

Finally, in the words of the dissent, "[the] proceeding [i]s an astounding procedural morass," created by the ULJ, the applicant, and the Department itself.  For all of these reasons, the dissent would reverse the decision of the unemployment-law judge that a debt existed that could be subject to revenue recapture.  However, the dissent is just that: the dissent, meaning a disagreement with the majority opinion, and the majority -- not the dissent -- has the final say, expresses the official opinion of the court, and carries the day.

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 were four decisions on unemployment benefits released this week by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  While three of the decisions were affirmed, one was reversed.  Two of the affirmed decisions stand for the proposition that a person who quits a job in ineligible for unemployment benefits unless that person had a good reason for quitting caused by the employer.  The other affirmed decision restates the rule that an appeal must be filed by a strict deadline or it will be dismissed.  In the case that was reversed, the Relator was available for suitable work -- a prerequisite to receiving unemployment benefits -- during the period for which he sought benefits.  

A14-1249, Robert S. Paxton, Relator, vs. Ind. School District #047, Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator challenges the unemployment-law judge’s (ULJ) decision that he did not have a good reason to quit caused by his employer and that certain subpoenaed records were irrelevant. 
The ULJ found that Paxton quit for four reasons and concluded that none was a good reason caused by the employer: (1) poor relations with subordinates; (2) disciplinary action taken against Paxton; (3) e-mail exchanges Paxton discovered between coworkers that he believed constituted harassment; and (4) a negotiated severance package. The record supports the ULJ’s decision that Paxton quit employment without a good reason caused by the employer.  As such, the Court of Appeals affirmed the ULJ's decision.

A14-1321 and A14-1325, Kari Robinson, Relator, vs. The Schuett Companies, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Kari Robinson challenges an unemployment law judge’s dismissal of her administrative appeal of two initial determinations. We conclude that the ULJ properly dismissed the administrative appeal because it was not filed within the 20-day appeal period. Therefore, we affirm.

A14-1594, Samuel I. Ricci, Relator, vs. Schmitty & Sons School Buses, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator Samuel Ricci challenges the unemployment-law judge’s decision that he was ineligible for unemployment benefits because he was not available for or actively seeking suitable employment from May 11, 2014 through June 30, 2014. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (the department) contends that the unemployment-law judge’s ineligibility determination should be affirmed as to the week beginning May 11, 2014, but concedes that the judge should be reversed as to the period from May 18, 2014 through June 30, 2014. Respondent Schmitty & Sons School Buses, Inc. advised this court that it would not be filing a brief, although it believes that the judge’s decision should be affirmed. Because Ricci was available for and actively seeking suitable employment from May 11, 2014 through June 30, 2014, we reverse the denial of benefits.

A14-0647, Michael Mudek, Relator, vs. Redtail Management, Inc. – Billy’s Bar & Grill at Breezy Point, Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

We affirm the determination of the unemployment law judge (ULJ) that relator is ineligible for unemployment benefits because the record substantially supports the ULJ’s factual finding that relator quit without good reason caused by the employer.  Mudek argues that he quit because his employer reduced his hours from an average of 30 per week to four per week in response to a seasonal decline in business. In contrast, the ULJ found that Mudek quit because his campground was closing and he planned to move. The ULJ’s finding is supported by the record. Mudek testified that he planned to leave his employment after the campground shut down for the winter because he could no longer remain there and wanted to move. He requested only seasonal work in accordance with his plan to move in the fall.  Accordingly, there is substantial support in the record for the ULJ’s finding that Mudek quit to move and not because his hours were reduced.


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 were three decisions on unemployment benefits this week from the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  The first two cases stand for the proposition that an applicant is ineligible for unemployment benefits if that applicant was discharged for employment misconduct.  The second case demonstrates that quitting a job without a good reason caused by the employer renders the applicant ineligible for unemployment benefits.

1. A14-0860, Jacqueline Crosser, Relator, vs. McAlpin Agency, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator Jacqueline Crosser challenges the decision of the unemployment-law judge that she was discharged for employment misconduct -- a "long-term pattern of poor attendance and tardiness" --  and is therefore ineligible for unemployment benefits. Because substantial evidence supports the unemployment-law judge’s decision, we affirm.


2. A14-1193, Lonn H. Luhman, Relator, vs. Red Wing Shoe Co., Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development,Respondent.


Relator challenges the determination of the unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that he is ineligible for unemployment benefits because he was discharged for employment misconduct. Because we find that substantial evidence supports the ULJ’s determination that relator committed employment misconduct by failing to appear for work as
scheduled under the company’s no-fault attendance policy, we affirm.

3.  A14-0469, Barbara Jackson, Relator, vs. Direct Home Health Care, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.


Relator Barbara Jackson challenges the determination of the unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that she is ineligible for unemployment benefits because she quit her employment without a good reason caused by the employer. Relator also argues that the ULJ failed to apply the specific definition of “quit” for employees of a staffing service to
relator’s case and failed to develop the record. 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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Three cases involving unpublished unemployment decisions were released today.  Two were affirmed and the third was actually reversed. The first one involves a case where it is an undisputed fact that the Relator quit her job. However, the Relator challenges the ULJ’s conclusion that none of the exceptions in Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1 apply to her case. In the second case, the Relator was found to be ineligible to receive unemployment benefits because he was neither available for nor actively seeking employment. The appellate court reversed the ULJ’s decision in the third case, granting the Relator’s request to reverse, but only based upon one of her three arguments -- that she had good reason to quit due to a consultant’s nonsexual and sexual harassment and her employer’s failure to address the Relator’s complaint when given the opportunity to do so. 

A14-1320   Terrylou Cripe-Scherek, Relator vs. MNKase LLC, Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Summary:  Relator Terrylou Cripe-Scherek appeals the decision of an unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that she was ineligible to receive unemployment benefits after quitting her employment. Because Cripe-Scherek did not request an accommodation prior to quitting her employment, we affirm.

Relator was employed at Fantastic Sam’s and was responsible for all of the day-to-day operations of the salon, including hiring and firing employees. Approximately six weeks before quitting, Relator Cripe-Scherek was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition causing a blood clot to form in her leg.  Relator and her assistant manager discussed the fact that she could not continue performing her job—or any other job at Fantastic Sams—if she had to be seated 90 percent of the day.

 When Relator Cripe-Scherek quit, she told the owner that she was quitting because “her doctor put her on restrictions and she wasn’t able to work.” Relator Cripe-Scherek never asked the owner for additional leave or any other accommodation, which was one of the major reasons the appellate court affirmed the ULJ’s decision and also because she did not meet the statutory requirements for any of the exceptions under Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1.

The general rule is that an applicant is ineligible for unemployment benefits if that applicant quit employment without meeting a statutory exception.  In this case, Relator's appeal was based on the statutory exception that it was medically necessary for her to quit.  However, Relator did not ask her employer to make a reasonable accommodation for her condition prior to quitting.  As such, the Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of benefits. 

A14-0471  Keith Travis, Relator, vs. Wal-Mart Associates, Inc., Respondent, Department of  Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Summary: Relator challenges an unemployment-law judge’s decision that he is ineligible to receive unemployment benefits because he was discharged for employment misconduct and because he was neither available for nor actively seeking employment.

Because of a hand injury, Travis was asked to provide Wal-Mart with medical certification several times.  Travis failed to provide one, even after he was informed that such certification was required and given nearly a month to provide it. The ULJ further found that Wal-Mart discharged Travis because he failed either to return to work after leaving to acquire the certificate. Record evidence supports these facts and is not disputed by Travis on appeal.

During the hearing, the Relator told the ULJ that his hand was still bothering him, therefore, he was not actively seeking employment and the Relator’s wife testified that because of his hand injury, he couldn’t do anything. Therefore, the Court upheld the ULJ’s decision that Travis is ineligible to receive benefits due to his unavailability for and failure to actively seek suitable employment.

Accordingly, the Court of Appeals affirmed the denial.

A14-0287  Jami Sternquist, Relator, vs. PAL Management, Inc., Respondent, Department  of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

 Summary:  In this certiorari appeal, relator requests reversal of the decision of an unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that she is ineligible for unemployment benefits because she did not quit her employment due to a good reason caused by the employer. Relator argues that she had good reason to quit because (1) she was paid less due to her gender; (2) she was harassed by a consultant who acted in a supervisory role; and (3) she was uncomfortable managing her regional manager’s wife.

The ULJ determined that Sternquist was eligible for unemployment benefits from September 6 through September 14 because she was discharged from employment for reasons other thanemployment misconduct. But the ULJ determined that Sternquist was ineligible for unemployment benefits beginning September 15 because Sternquist notified Pawn America that she planned to quit her job as of September 19, and she quit for reasons other than a good reason caused by the employer. Sternquist requested reconsideration,and the ULJ affirmed her decision.

The Court of Appeals determined that the consultant’s nonsexual and sexual harassment, coupled with Pawn America’s failure to address Sternquist’s complaints when given a reasonable opportunity to do so, would compel an average, reasonable employee to quit and become unemployed.  Accordingly, the Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that the ULJ erred by determining that Sternquist did not have a good reason to quit caused by her employer.  Because the case was reversed based on the alleged sexual harassment and failure of the employer to respond, the Court of Appeals did not address Relator's other arguments.

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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This week there were two unpublished opinions from the Minnesota Court of Appeals related to unemployment benefits. The relator in the first case challenges the ULJ’s determination of her ineligibility to collect unemployment benefits based on the fact that her appeal was untimely.  The appeal by the relator in the second case one see many times – the ULJ’s decision that she is ineligible to receive unemployment benefits because of employee misconduct. Both cases were affirmed.

1.   A14-0225   Diane Quick, Relator, vs. Polar Semiconductor, Inc., Respondent,  Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Summary:  On certiorari review from an unemployment-law judge’s (ULJ’s) decision dismissing relator’s appeal as untimely, relator argues that (1) her appeal from a determination of ineligibility based on her reason for quitting was not untimely because the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) had not yet ruled on the companion issue of whether she was able to work and was actively seeking work; (2) her submission of responses to questions before the appeal deadline constituted an appeal under Minn. Stat. § 268.103, subd. 2(b) (2012); and (3) DEED sent relator documents containing erroneous information that led her to believe she no longer needed to appeal from the determination of ineligibility

Here are the three responses from the Court in regard to relator’s three argumentative issues above:

(1) Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(7), states that the ineligibility exception for quitting employment for medical necessity “raises an issue of the applicant’s being available for suitable employment under section 268.085, subdivision 1, that the commissioner must determine.” But nothing in this section states that both issues must be resolved together or that the statutory appeal time limit is tolled until the issue of availability for work is resolved. We note that ineligibility issues may arise at different times. Therefore, we conclude that DEED was not required to issue a unitary determination on all issues related to relator’s eligibility for unemployment benefits.

(2) Relator also contends that the act itself of responding to DEED’s request for information showed that relator believed herself to be entitled to benefits. But DEED asserts that relator’s responses in no way address the issue of whether she quit for personal or medical reasons. We agree. We conclude that the October 7 statement cannot reasonably be interpreted as an appeal of the September 24 determination of ineligibility.

(3) We agree with relator that the notifications she received from DEED indicating the presence or absence of “pending” issues related to her eligibility for benefits were confusing, but we conclude that the statements were not so misleading that the burden of the misunderstanding should be borne by DEED.

Relator did not fully follow DEED’s appeal instructions where her determination of ineligibility letter clearly stated that the determination would be final on October 14, 2013, and relator did not appeal the determination until October 16, 2013.  Relator was determined ineligible for benefits on two separate bases, either one of which would result in her inability to receive benefits.

Although the Court affirmed the ULJ’s decision, I found the last paragraph of the Court’s decision interesting, noting, DEED’s “ . . . lack of clarity with which it communicates with applicants for benefits.  . . Deed should carefully consider how and what it communicates with applicants for benefits so as to fulfill its purpose as stated in law.”

2. A14-0233   Deborah Brakefield, Relator, vs. IND. School District #2889, Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Summary:  Relator challenges the decision by an unemployment law judge (ULJ) that she was discharged for employment misconduct and is ineligible for unemployment benefits, arguing that the ULJ improperly relied on hearsay and improperly interpreted other evidence; that she was prejudiced because certain evidence was not available; and that she had been subjected to discrimination and a hostile environment. Because substantial evidence supports the ULJ’s decision, relator received a fair hearing, and she did not raise claims of discrimination or a hostile work environment to the ULJ, we affirm

This week there was also an Order Opinion released. Cases that involve a few simple issues may be decided by order opinions, which include little discussion of the facts of the case and a brief analysis of the laws that are involved.  This Order Opinion merits attention because DEED conceded that it erred in determining whether Relator was eligible for unemployment benefits.  Still, the Order Opinion does not say how the ULJ erred.

3. A14-0654 Vernon E. Wallace, Relator, vs. Metro Center for Independent Living, Inc., Respondent,  Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent. Reversed and remanded.

Summary: In this petition for certiorari review, relator Vernon E. Wallace challenges the March 14, 2014 decision by an unemployment law judge (ULJ), in which the ULJ affirmed his initial decision that relator is ineligible for unemployment benefits because he was discharged for employment misconduct. Relator asks this court to reverse or, in the alternative, to reverse and remand for an additional hearing.

Respondent Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) filed a letter in lieu of a respondent's brief, conceding that the ULJ erred and asking this court to reverse and remand with instructions for the ULJ to hold another hearing and consider additional evidence.  Accordingly, the case was reversed and remanded.

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 only one decision on unemployment benefits this week from the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  The decision was released on October 6, 2014.  The case is a good illustration that an applicant for unemployment benefits who quits employment must have a good reason to quit caused by the employer, but is noteworthy because this is the third time that the case has been before the Appeals Court.

A14-0371, Lennis Bentrud, Relator, vs. Robin Drug Corp., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Summary: On certiorari appeal from a determination by an unemployment law judge (ULJ) that relator is ineligible for unemployment benefits, relator argues that the ULJ erred by determining that she quit employment without good reason caused by the employer.  Relator argued that she quit because of physical harassment and intimidation directed at her by her supervisor, but the ULJ ultimately determined that Bentrud quit because her supervisor altered her timecard, with the result that she was paid for time off instead of having to take time off without pay.  The Appeals Court concluded "that a reasonable, average worker would not quit employment in favor of unemployment where the alteration to her timecard resulted in her receiving more pay than anticipated."  For these reasons, the Court of Appeals affirmed the ULJ's decision that relator was ineligible to receive unemployment benefits.

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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Although there were only two unpublished opinions this week, both were reversed and one was also remanded. In the first case, the Relator is found ineligible for benefits due to employee misconduct.  The Appeals Court reversed the decision, without remanding it back to the Department of Employment and Economic Development. The second case (which was reversed and remanded) relates to the Relator’s ineligibility for quitting without good reason attributable to his employer.

1.  A13-2346  Richard Hammerstad, Relator, vs. Princeton Auto Center, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Summary:  Relator challenges an unemployment-law judge’s decision that he is ineligible for unemployment benefits due to employment misconduct.  Princeton Auto Center (the employer) claimed that the employee did not have a valid driver’s license due to a recent DUI and is therefore not able to drive vehicles and perform his duties as described at time of hire.

During the hearing, the ULJ asked Princeton whether a license was a requirement of Hammerstad’s job, and Princeton responded, “Yes. Mr. Hammerstad was a service technician and driving vehicles is a required part of the job due to diagnosis and other facets of vehicle repair.”  Princeton acknowledged that, when it hired Hammerstad, it knew that Hammerstad did not have a driver’s license. Hammerstad argues that his lack of a valid driver’s license did not constitute employment misconduct. Under the circumstances in this case, we agree, and reverse.

2.  A14-0050  Benson Giwa, Relator, vs. Wal-Mart Associates, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Summary: Relator challenges the determination of the unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that he is ineligible to receive unemployment benefits because he quit his employment without good reason attributable to his employer.  Giwa asserted two separate bases for quitting his job: (1) he was subjected to harassment by coworkers; and (2) Wal-Mart breached its agreement to schedule Giwa to work four days each week.

Giwa claimed that from 2004 to 2013 he was subjected to racial slurs and harassment by department managers. During these years, Giwa made numerous complaints about the harassment and racial slurs to various managers, but nothing was ever done about it.  Finally, March 2012, Giwa complained to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR), who then recommended mediation for Giwa and Wal-Mart. However, Wal-Mart representatives failed to show up at any of the three scheduled mediation appointments. 

Wal-Mart then began to schedule Giwa to only one day of work instead of his usual four days. The ULJ characterized Wal-Mart’s scheduling of Giwa as a “simple mistake” and determined that “a single week of reduced hours would not compel the average, reasonable worker to quit and become unemployed.” The Court stated, “We cannot determine the legal issue of whether Giwa’s reason for quitting amounted to ‘good cause’ because ULJ’s factual findings are not ‘substantially sustain[ed]’ by the evidence in the record.”  For this reason, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded. 

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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This week there were two unemployment unpublished decisions from the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The first case is quite interesting because it is in regard to whether or not performers and professional staff members are considered employees or independent contractors if hired on a short-term basis, which is the reason Relator Skylark Opera challenges the ULJ’s decision that these persons are employees. The Court reversed this decision. The second case involves the Relator challenging her ineligibility to collect unemployment benefits because she quit her job. This case was affirmed by the Court.

A13-2343  Skylark Opera, Relator, vs. Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Summary:  Relator Skylark Opera challenges a final decision by a ULJ determining that performers and professional staff members that they hire on a short-term basis for a handful of annual productions are employees rather than individual contractors, and for this reason that wages paid to these persons are taxable under the unemployment-insurance laws.  The Appeals Court held because Skylark Opera hires persons on a short-term basis for only four performances, that the workers were hired as independent contractors.  Because the persons hired by Skylark Opera are independent contractors, we reverse.

A14-0054  Wendy Bronstad, Relator, vs. The House of Hope, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.        

Summary:  Relator Wendy Bronstad applied for 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. Bronstad filed an administrative appeal, and the unemployment-law judge (ULJ) upheld the ineligibility determination and affirmed this decision after Bronstad requested reconsideration.  TheAppeals Court concluded that because Bronstad’s reason for quitting was due to a demotion based on unsatisfactory job performance, substantial evidence supports the ULJ’s finding that the circumstances that caused her to quit would not cause an average, reasonable worker to quit. The ULJ did not err in upholding the determination of ineligibility. Affirmed.

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.