may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. ß 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Joe F. Oakley,
Air Quality Engineering, Inc.,
Commissioner of Economic Security,
Department of Economic Security
File No. 4145
Joe F. Oakley, 3315 Aldrich Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408 (relator pro se)
Shirley O. Lerner, Park Center Building, Suite 314, 3601 Park Center Boulevard, Minneapolis, MN 55416 (for respondent/employer)
Kent E. Todd, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent/commissioner)
U N P U B L I S H E D† O P I N I O N
GORDON W. SHUMAKER, Judge
††††††††††† Believing that his wages would be drastically reduced, relator quit his job and sought unemployment benefits.† A commissionerís representative held that relator was disqualified from benefits because he had not suffered any wage reduction.† We affirm.
††††††††††† Relator was one of several territorial sales managers who worked for respondent selling air-cleaning equipment on commission.† To address the problem of declining sales, respondent made two changes in its business practices.† First, it reduced the sales territories of most of its managers.† Instead of two full states and part of two others, relator was given only the state of Michigan.† Second, respondent devised a new sales strategy of selling to full-service dealers rather than directly to the end-users of the products.† Both changes had the potential for reducing the earnings of sales managers.† The smaller territory could result in fewer customers and the new sales strategy would require that commissions be divided between sales managers and full-service dealers.† Respondent gave managers the choice of when to implement the new sales strategy.† As of the end of 1999, relatorís territory had been reduced but he had not implemented the new sales strategy.
††††††††††† In an employment review meeting on March 17, 2000, relatorís supervisor told him that he would lose the Michigan territory if he did not meet his sales quota.† Relator was not confident that he could meet his quota.† He also believed that territories should have been added rather than taken away and that direct sales to end-users provided sales incentives to managers.
††††††††††† Concluding that his wages inevitably would be drastically reduced, relator quit his job on April 5, 2000.† He then applied for unemployment benefits.† The Minnesota Department of Economic Security determined that relator was eligible for benefits.† Respondent challenged that determination, and an unemployment law judge affirmed.† Respondent appealed to the commissioner and the commissionerís representative reversed the unemployment law judge and disqualified relator from benefits.
††††††††††† The record showed that relatorís wages for the first three months of 2000 exceeded his wages for the same period in 1999.† Relator also testified that had he continued in respondentís employ he believed he would have earned about the same wages in 2000 as he did in 1999, but he qualified his projection by noting that the new sales strategy would reduce his wages whenever it would be implemented.
††††††††††† The commissionerís representative ruled that, under the law, a substantial reduction in an employeeís pay constitutes a good reason caused by the employer for quitting and does not disqualify the employee from unemployment benefits.† However, the commissionerís representative found that relator had in fact suffered no reduction of pay before he quit.† The matter is before us on certiorari review of the commissionerís representativeís decision.
An employee who quits employment shall be disqualified from all unemployment benefits unless the employee quit because of a good reason caused by the employer.† Minn. Stat. ß 268.095, subd. 1(1) (2000).† Whether an employee quit for a good reason is a question of law, which this court reviews de novo.† Hein v. Precision Assocs., Inc., 609 N.W.2d 916, 918 (Minn. App. 2000).† A good reason is one
(1) that is directly related to the employment and for which the employer is responsible; and
(2) that is significant and would compel an average, reasonable worker to quit and become unemployed rather than remaining in the employment.
Minn. Stat. ß 268.095, subd. 3(a) (2000).
A substantial adverse change in the wages, hours, or other terms of employment by the employer shall be considered a good reason caused by the employer for quitting unless the change occurred because of the [employeeís] employment misconduct.
Minn. Stat. ß 268.095, subd. 3(c) (2000).
The commissionerís representative found that, as of the date relator quit, his wages had not been reduced.† This court is required to view the commissionerís representativeís findings in a light most favorable to the decision.† White v. Metropolitan Med. Ctr., 332 N.W.2d 25, 26 (Minn. 1983).† Such findings will not be disturbed on review if there is any evidence reasonably trending to support them.† Tuff v. Knitcraft Corp., 526 N.W.2d 50, 51 (Minn. 1995).
††††††††††† Relator admitted that he had no actual reduction in wages, but he argues that part of the wages came from an atypical sale in January 2000, and thus should not be considered, and that respondentís changes in territories and strategy would also reduce his wages.† Although we understand relatorís argument, nothing in the record shows any actual reduction of wages.† Nor does relator cite any authority for the proposition that earnings from an atypical sale should not be considered as wages.† The findings are supported by the record and the commissionerís representative correctly applied the law to those findings.