This opinion will be unpublished and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
Piper Health Care,
Commissioner of Economic Security,
Filed February 6, 2001
Department of Economic Security
File No. 396599
Jennifer Myers, P.O. Box 122, Perham, MN 56573-0122 (relator pro se)
Care 2000 Home Healthcare Services, Inc., 119 East Lincoln Avenue, Fergus Falls, MN 56537 (respondent employer pro se)
Kent E. Todd, Minnesota Department of Economic Security, 390 North Robert St., St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent Commissioner)
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Amundson, Judge, and Willis, Judge.
Pro se relator Jennifer Myers challenges a decision by the commissioner’s representative disqualifying her from receiving reemployment insurance benefits. The commissioner’s representative concluded that Myers quit her job as a home health care aide without good cause attributable to her employer, respondent Piper Health Care (Piper). Because the evidence shows that Myers quit when she became dissatisfied with her hours and work schedule, and because Myers had been notified of the general hours and work schedule when she accepted employment with Piper, we affirm.
An employee who quits a job is not entitled to unemployment compensation benefits unless she quits “because of a good reason caused by the employer.” Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(1) (Supp. 1999). This presents a question of law and is reviewable de novo by this court. Kehoe v. Minnesota Dep’t of Econ. Sec., 568 N.W.2d 889, 890 (Minn. App. 1997). A good reason to quit must be “directly related to the employment and for which the employer is responsible” and so significant that it “would compel an average, reasonable worker to quit and become unemployed rather than remaining in the employment.” Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 3(a)(1), (2) (Supp. 1999).
Adverse working conditions can provide a good reason to quit if the employee first notifies the employer to give the employer an opportunity to correct those conditions. Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 3(b) (Supp. 1999). “A substantial adverse change in wages, hours, or other terms of employment * * * shall be considered a good reason caused by the employer for quitting[.]” Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 3(c) (Supp. 1999). A substantial reduction in wages or a substantial change in work schedule, which amounts to breach of the employment contract, will generally give an employee good reason to quit. See, e.g., Wood v. Menard, Inc., 490 N.W.2d 441, 443 (Minn. App. 1992) (employee had good cause to quit when employer substantially reduced employee’s hours and pay); Krantz v. Loxtercamp Transport, Inc., 410 N.W.2d 24, 26-27 (Minn. App. 1987) (truck driver had good cause to quit when employer required him to work schedule substantially different from schedule employee had agreed to when hired).
Myers argues that she quit due to Piper’s inability to provide “workable conditions.” In particular, she complains that when she was hired, Piper failed to notify her (1) she could get paid for an hour of work if she filled out a time sheet when a client cancelled; (2) she would be working split shifts, and would sometimes have to drive 30 miles from her home to Detroit Lakes twice daily or wait two to three hours between clients; and (3) during some weeks, she would be scheduled to work only 15 to 20 hours. She insists that when confronted with these complaints, Piper made no attempt to work with her to rectify the situation.
The evidence established that when she started, Myers was not guaranteed a certain number of hours of work and that she was informed of the general area where most of her clients lived, which was 20 to 30 miles from her home. The evidence further showed that Myers worked an average of 30 hours per week in March 1999, 34 hours per week in April, 30 hours per week in May, 25 hours per week in June, and 20 hours per week in July. The decrease in her July hours was due partially to the death of one of her clients and to her submission of a letter of resignation on July 11, effective August 6. Piper offered Myers other work in July that she did not accept; Piper also claimed that it would have trained Myers to work with other clients, but did not want to do so because she was leaving in early August. The evidence finally showed that after Myers brought some of her issues to Piper’s attention, Piper attempted to avoid scheduling her with waiting times between shifts and agreed to pay her for one hour of travel time between shifts.
Based on this evidence, the commissioner’s representative concluded that Piper did not violate the terms of its employment agreement with Myers and that Myers’s hours varied due to circumstances beyond Piper’s control. Although Myers eventually found her schedule and the distances she was required to travel frustrating and unacceptable, this did not provide her with good reason to quit for the purposes of qualifying for receipt of unemployment insurance benefits.
We cannot conclude that Myers quit because Piper substantially changed her working conditions or otherwise breached her employment agreement. Nor can we conclude that Myers became unemployed “through no fault of [her] own.” See Minn. Stat. § 268.03 (Supp. 1999) (policy underlying unemployment compensation is to set aside reserves “to be used for the benefit of individuals unemployed through no fault of their own”). We therefore affirm the decision of the commissioner’s representative.