This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. ß 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Lincoln Baking Company, Inc.,
Commissioner of Economic Security,
Filed June 13, 2000
Lincoln Baking Company, Inc., 6960 Madison Avenue West, Suite 3, Golden Valley, MN 55427 (respondent)
Kent E. Todd, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent Commissioner of Economic Security)
U N P U B L I S H E D†† O P I N I O N
††††††††††† Relator Myron M. Simonson appeals the commissionerís decision that he was discharged for misconduct and is therefore ineligible for reemployment benefits.† We affirm.
††††††††††† Simonson began working for respondent Lincoln Baking Company, Inc. as the company controller in February 1998.† His job duties included providing the company president with timely and accurate reports covering the companyís financial status, accounts payable and receivable, daily bank balances, and payroll.†††
††††††††††† Simonson continually failed to provide the various financial reports.† He also presented checks for signing without the president's prior authorization, which was required.† In addition, he issued himself a check for mileage in violation of his employment agreement.
††††††††††† In February 1999, Simonson was directed to issue an immediate interim financial statement to the president for a meeting with the companyís bank set for March 16.† He failed to do so.† He was then told to have the statement prepared by March 16, but again failed to do so.† He was discharged on March 17, 1999, and given a 30-day notice pursuant to his employment agreement.† An initial determination of nondisqualification for reemployment benefits issued in Simonsonís favor.† On appeal, the reemployment insurance judge reversed the determination, finding that Simonson was discharged for misconduct.† The commissionerís representative affirmed.† Simonson appeals.
††††††††††† A determination by the commissionerís representative that an employee committed misconduct is a mixed question of law and fact.† Colburn v. Pine Portage Madden Bros., 346 N.W.2d 159, 161 (Minn. 1984).† A reviewing court will affirm if the findings of fact are supported by the evidence and if the conclusions are not contrary to law.† Id.† The commissionerís representativeís findings of fact are viewed in the light most favorable to the decision.† White v. Metropolitan Med. Ctr., 332 N.W.2d 25, 26 (Minn. 1983).
††††††††††† In this case, the commissionerís representative found several facts supporting his decision that Simonson was discharged for misconduct.† These facts include: Simonson issued himself a check for mileage in violation of his employment agreement; he did not have authority to issue checks without the presidentís prior authorization; and he continuously failed to issue required financial reports, including an interim financial statement needed for an emergency meeting with the companyís bank.† Testimony and documents submitted at the hearing support the findings.
††††††††††† Whether the commissionerís representativeís findings support a determination of misconduct is a question of law we review de novo.† Cook v. Playworks, 541 N.W.2d 366, 368 (Minn. App. 1996).† Simonson argues that he was not fired for misconduct because he was not discharged pursuant to the ďfor causeĒ provision of his employment agreement.† His termination letter does not state why Simonson was discharged.† The employment agreement provides that the employee can be discharged ďfor any reason or no reasonĒ with a 30-day notice.
††††††††††† Simonson also argues that he was not aware of the employment agreement provision that mileage expenses were not reimburseable by the company.† The commissionerís representative found his testimony was not believable.† See Ruzynski v. Cub Foods, Inc., 378 N.W.2d 660, 663 (Minn. App. 1985) (determination that employee received handbook, where employee signed statement acknowledging receipt, was credibility determination not subject to question by this court).† Violation of an employment agreement can constitute misconduct.† See id. (violation of timecard policy contained in employee handbook constituted misconduct).†† In addition, Simonson knew he was not to issue checks without the presidentís prior authorization.† An employer ďhas the right to expect scrupulous adherence to procedure by employees handling the employerís money.Ē† McDonald v. PDQ, 341 N.W.2d 892, 893 (Minn. App. 1984).
††††††††††† Simonsonís failure to issue the financial statement needed for the emergency bank meeting also constituted misconduct.† An employer has the right to expect an employee to follow reasonable orders and instructions, and failure to do so constitutes misconduct.† Soussi v. Blue & White Serv. Corp., 498 N.W.2d 316, 318 (Minn. App. 1993).††††
††††††††††† The commissionerís representative found that Simonsonís conduct was intentional and violated the standards of behavior the employer had a right to expect, constituting misconduct under the law.† We conclude the commissionerís representativeís findings are supported by the evidence and his decision not contrary to law.