This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Dolphin Clerical Group,
Commissioner of Economic Security,
Filed January 23, 2001
Dolphin Clerical Group, TCG Incorporated, 258 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (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 Theresa J. Louricas challenges the commissioner's representative's determination that she was disqualified for failure to accept suitable employment. We conclude that as a matter of law the job offers were not suitable. We reverse.
Louricas lives in Webster, approximately 20 miles south of the southern metropolitan area. In 1999, she began working on assignment for respondent Dolphin Clerical Group. When Louricas applied for work with Dolphin, she specified that she was interested in permanent clerical work paying at least $12 per hour in the southern Minneapolis suburbs. From April 15 to July 9, 1999, Louricas worked for $15 per hour full time as an administrative assistant for two in-house attorneys in Bloomington. From July 12 to November 19, 1999, she worked for $14 per hour on assignment in Eden Prairie contacting vendors.
On November 28, 1999, after a week and a half with no further assignment offers, Louricas applied for reemployment compensation with the Department of Economic Security, telling Dolphin she had no choice. On November 30, 1999, Louricas declined an offer from Dolphin to work as a receptionist at JNBA Financial Advisors in Bloomington because it was a one-day assignment. On January 6, 2000, Louricas declined a customer service job in downtown St. Paul because of its location.
Dolphin protested the initial Department of Economic Security qualification determination on the grounds that Louricas had refused suitable employment. On February 18, 2000, the Department of Economic Security mailed a Determination of Nondisqualification, finding that Louricas was not disqualified from receiving benefits because assignments offered were not suitable. Dolphin appealed. On April 7, 2000, a reemployment compensation judge issued a determination that Louricas was not disqualified from receiving benefits as assignments offered were not suitable. Dolphin appealed. On June 1, 2000, the commissioner's representative issued a determination that Louricas was disqualified from receiving benefits because she failed to accept offers of suitable employment without good cause. Louricas appeals.
The ultimate determination of whether an employee is properly disqualified from receiving benefits is a question of law, subject to de novo review. Lolling v. Midwest Patrol, 545 N.W.2d 372, 377 (Minn. 1996). An applicant is disqualified from benefits if, without good cause, the applicant fails to accept suitable employment when offered. Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 8(a)(2) (Supp. 1999). Suitable employment is "employment in the applicant's labor market area that is reasonably related to the applicant's qualifications." Minn. Stat. § 268.035, subd. 23a(a) (Supp. 1999). In this case, the commissioner's representative reversed the reemployment compensation judge and determined that Louricas failed to accept offers of suitable employment on November 30, 1999, and on January 6, 2000.
Whether short-term assignments offered by a temporary employment agency are offers of "suitable employment" under disqualification provision of economic security law depends on the pattern of the employee's demonstrated work history. Mbong v. New Horizons Nursing, 608 N.W.2d 890, 893 (Minn. App. 2000). Our review of the record in this case leads to the conclusion that the job offers here were not suitable. The November 30, 1999, job offer was not suitable because it was a one-day job. The work order description in the record states that the position would be "covering a vacation day." The January 6, 2000, job offer was not suitable because of its location. Louricas and Dolphin had agreed to placements in the southern Minneapolis metropolitan area. Given Louricas' history of working for Dolphin at long-term assignments in the southern Minneapolis suburbs, we conclude as a matter of law the disputed job offers were not suitable.