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There were three decisions on unemployment benefits this week issued by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  The second case is unique because the Relator is represented by an attorney, which is always a good idea when appealing to the Court of Appeals.  The third case is unique because the Department of Employment and Economic Development requested reversal, admitting that the hearing was not fair.

1. A15-0433, Leola Banks, Relator, vs. Regions Hospital, Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Leola Banks’s supervisor discharged Banks from her employment at Regions Hospital after Banks signed prescription-drug order forms as a licensed pharmacist even though she was not a licensed pharmacist. Banks appeals from an unemployment-law judge’s determination that she is ineligible to receive unemployment benefits because she was discharged for employment misconduct. Because Banks’s misrepresenting herself as a pharmacist to order drugs constitutes employment misconduct, we affirm. 

2. A15-0305, Paul Hecimovich, Relator, vs. Always There Staffing, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Paul Hecimovich quit his job as a scrap-iron laborer after one week because his boss yelled at him. An unemployment-law judge (ULJ) determined that Hecimovich is ineligible for unemployment benefits because he quit his employment and the statutory 30-day unsuitability exception does not apply. Hecimovich appeals, arguing that because his employment was unsuitable under Minnesota Statutes section 268.035, subdivision 23a (2014), he need not show that the reason he quit his job was its unsuitability

Hecimovich did not quit his job because it was unsuitable. He quit because it was intolerable to his personal sensibilities. In Wiley v. Robert Half Int’l, Inc., we recognized that the word “because” in the 30-day unsuitability exception establishes that the statute requires an applicant to show a causal relationship between the job’s unsuitability and the applicant’s reason for quitting. 834 N.W.2d 567, 570–71 (Minn. App. 2013). Although the employment’s unsuitability need not be the sole or even the primary reason why the employee quit, it must be one reason. Id. at 571.

Hecimovich’s only reason for quitting was his boss’s yelling at him. The yelling is unrelated to the job’s unsuitability under the statute, and Hecimovich therefore does not establish the required causal relationship. Hecimovich’s counsel conceded at oral argument that reversing the ULJ’s eligibility determination would require us to overturn our decision in Wiley. We decline the invitation to do so.  Accordingly, we affirm the ULJ’s determination.

3.  A15-0703, Patrick H. Horan, Relator, v. Centerline Charter Corp., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator Patrick H. Horan challenges a decision by an unemployment-law judge, affirmed on reconsideration, determining him ineligible for unemployment benefits. Respondent Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (the department) has filed a letter requesting reversal of the unemployment-law judge’s decision. Horan’s employer, respondent Centerline Charter Corp., has not filed an appellate brief or a response to the department’s letter. Because we agree with the department that the unemployment-law judge did not provide a fair hearing to Horan and that the unemployment-law judge’s decision is not supported by the evidence in the record, we reverse.

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 from the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday 8/31/15.  The first two cases stand for the proposition that an applicant for unemployment benefits must be available for suitable employment.  The first case is unique because it was reversed.  The third case was affirmed, and is a fairly typical misconduct case where the applicant was found ineligible for unemployment benefits because of employment misconduct.

1. A15-0072 Michelle Davidsavor, Relator, vs. Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent

Relator raises procedural and substantive challenges to an unemployment-law judge’s decision that she was ineligible for unemployment benefits.  The Appeals Court ruled that "[t]he situation did not demand greater procedural protections than Davidsavor received; therefore, the ULJ’s decision was not made upon unlawful procedure or in violation of constitutional provisions."  However, the Appeals Court 'conclude[d] that the ULJ’s finding that Davidsavor was not available for and actively seeking suitable employment after August 31, 2014, is “unsupported by substantial evidence in view of the entire record as submitted.”'  As such, the Appeals Court reversed the determination that Davidsavior was ineligible for unemployment benefits.

2. A15-0053 Ahmed Ghanim, Relator, vs. FedEx Kinko’s Office and Print Services, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator Ahmed Ghanim challenges the unemployment-law judge’s determination that he was ineligible for benefits because he was not actively seeking suitable employment. Because substantial evidence in the record supports the unemployment-law judge’s determination, we affirm.

3. A15-0096 Courtney Paulson, Relator, vs. General Nutrition Center, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator Courtney Paulson challenges an unemployment-law judge’s determination that she is ineligible for unemployment benefits. Because substantial evidence supports the unemployment-law judge’s conclusion that Paulson committed employment misconduct.  The misconduct in this case consisted of providing falsified "cycle reports" to the employer and causing the employer financial loss for her personal gain.  As a result, the Appeals Court affirmed the determination of ineligibility.

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 from the Minnesota Court of Appeals, but the case is somewhat unique because the issue is whether the applicant was actively seeking suitable employment and the Appeals Court affirmed but modified -- at DEED's urging -- the decision of the ULJ.  I think the case should have been remanded -- or sent back -- for further proceedings.  That would have had the same result, but affirming as modified may have been more efficient.

A14-1974 Tanya Jacobs, Relator, vs. Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator challenges the determination of an unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that she is ineligible to receive unemployment benefits for the period of April 27 through June because she was not actively seeking employment. Respondent department argues that the ULJ’s determination should be modified to reflect relator’s employment efforts in the first week of June. We affirm as modified.

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 this week on unemployment benefits from the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

A14-1685, Voeurn A. Sandberg, Relator, vs. Zaws, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment & Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator challenges the unemployment-law judge’s (ULJ) determination that she was ineligible during the period for which she sought benefits because she was not available for or actively seeking suitable employment because she was unwilling to commute more than 15 miles from her home.  The ULJ found that Sandberg’s unwillingness to commute more than 15 miles was “an unreasonable, self-imposed restriction” because suitable employment included employment beyond a 15-mile radius, and denied her benefits because she was not available for or actively seeking suitable employment. Sandberg requested reconsideration, asserting that she is willing to work more than 15 miles from her home, but was again denied.  The Court of Appeals agreed with the ULJ's reasoning and findings, and affirmed the denial of 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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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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There were three decisions this week on unemployment benefits from the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  The first case involved a consolidated appeal.  The second case is somewhat unusual because it affirms the denial of unemployment benefits before a certain date, but reverses a denial of unemployment benefits after a certain date because the relator was actively seeking suitable employment after that date.  The third is another reminder that an applicant is ineligible for unemployment benefits if the applicant was terminated by employment misconduct.  All decisions were released on Monday 12/8/14.

1. Sarah N. Lewis, Relator (A14-0106), Carole M. Smith, Relator (A14-0107), Leslie J. Shank, Relator (A14-0108), Sunmi Chang, Relator (A14-0109), Daria T. Adams, Relator (A14-0110),
Michael B. Israelievitch, Relator (A14-0111), Joshua N. Koestenbaum, Relator (A14-0112), Lynn M. Erickson, Relator (A14-0113), vs. St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Society, Respondent, and Department of Employment and Economic Development,Respondent.

In these consolidated petitions, relators, all musicians with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, seek certiorari review of an unemployment-law judge’s (ULJ) decision that they are ineligible for unemployment benefits because their weekly earnings exceeded the amount of their weekly unemployment benefits.  Relators applied for unemployment benefits in the off-season, when they were not working but nonetheless receiving a paycheck.  

The problem is that relators were not considered unemployed, and hence not eligible for unemployment benefits.  Minn. Stat. 268.035, subd. 26 says that “[a]n applicant is considered ‘unemployed’(1) in any week that the applicant performs less than 32 hours of service in employment,covered employment, noncovered employment, self-employment, or volunteer work; and (2) any earnings with respect to that week are less than the applicant’s weekly unemployment benefit amount.”  Although relators worked less than 32 hours per week in the off season, they nevertheless were getting paid more than the amount of their weekly unemployment benefit.

For all of these reasons, the ULJ's decision that the relators were ineligible for unemployment benefits was affirmed.

2. A14-0161, Julie Strowbridge,Relator, vs. Maid in America, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator Julie Strowbridge challenges the unemployment-law judge’s determination that she was ineligible for unemployment benefits and that she had to repay $997 of benefits she had already received. Because Strowbridge was unavailable for suitable employment from July 7 to August 4, 2013, we affirm the denial of benefits for that period of time. Because Strowbridge was available for and actively seeking suitable employment beginning on August 5, 2013, we reverse the denial of benefits after that date.

3. A14-0850, David K. Beckwith, Relator, vs. Duluth Lawn & Sport, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator challenges the decision by an unemployment law judge (ULJ) that he was discharged for employment misconduct and is ineligible for unemployment benefits. More specifically,  relator David Beckwith asserts that he is entitled to unemployment benefits because he was not given warnings by his employer, Duluth Lawn & Sport, that his behavior was inappropriate, other employees who were not terminated exhibited similar inappropriate behavior, and the ULJ made factual errors to support her decision.

The ULJ found that Beckwith “had multiple violations of policy on cell phone use, punching out for lunch, and being absent or leaving earlywithout permission, and he had incidents of recklessness and a final incident of swearing
in front of customers.”  In other words, Beckwith committed employment misconduct -- a violation of the standards of behavior that an employer has the right to reasonably expect -- and was ineligible for unemployment benefits.  The ULJ's decision was 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.