This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Department of Veterans Affairs,
Department of Economic Security,
Department of Economic Security
File No. 103299
Joseph Wenderski, Jr., 33032 26th Place S.W., Federal Way, WA 98023 (pro se relator)
Pamela R. Saunders, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Regional Counsel, V.A. Medical Center, One Veterans Drive, Building 73, Minneapolis, MN 55417 (for respondent employer)
Kent E. Todd, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent Commissioner)
Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge, Crippen, Judge, and Forsberg, Judge.*
Claiming reemployment insurance benefits, relator disputes the finding that he committed disqualifying misconduct. Because evidence in the record sustains the finding of the commissioner’s representative that relator intentionally disregarded the terms of an agreement intended to save his employment, we affirm.
The parties do not dispute that relator Wenderski committed misconduct in dealing with a fellow employee in February 1999. Respondent employer Department of Veterans Affairs chose not to discharge relator for that conduct and agreed to permit him to participate in a treatment program to save his employment. On April 5, 1999, relator entered into a written agreement that committed him to give his medical provider a release of information so that the provider would report on his treatment no later than April 16, 1999. The “Last Chance Agreement” contained at least four provisions indicating that relator would be terminated for violating any term of the agreement. Relator signed the agreement and checked the box affirming that he understood its terms.
Relator testified that, in the course of his efforts to deal with the humiliation and depression related to his job difficulties, his obligation to provide documentation of his treatment program “escaped” him. At the hearing before the reemployment compensation judge, when his attorney asked him if he had “all the details of the agreement memorized or clearly in [his] mind,” he responded that he did not.
The commissioner’s representative found that the agreement clearly set forth the documentation requirements, that relator “ignored the terms of that agreement,” and that he “engaged in intentional conduct showing a disregard of the employer’s interests and of standards of behavior which the employer had a right to expect.”
Findings of the commissioner’s representative must “be viewed in the light most favorable to the decision, and if there is evidence reasonably tending to sustain them, they will not be disturbed.” White v. Metropolitan Med. Ctr., 332 N.W.2d 25, 26 (Minn. 1983) (citation omitted). This court reviews de novo the ultimate determination of whether misconduct has occurred. Ress v. Abbott Northwestern Hosp., Inc., 448 N.W.2d 519, 523 (Minn. 1989).
An individual who is discharged for misconduct is disqualified from receiving reemployment compensation benefits. Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 4(1) (Supp. 1999). Disqualifying misconduct is any intentional conduct showing a disregard of the employee’s duties and obligations to the employer. Id., subd. 6(a)(1) (Supp. 1999).
The evidence in the record is sufficient to support the finding of intentional misconduct. As respondent argued to the reemployment compensation judge, the agreement tends to speak for itself: relator understood the contents of the agreement, he had to provide a medical report no later than April 16, 1999, and he would be terminated if he failed to comply with all the conditions. Relator never provided the report.
* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.