This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Kathleen M. Haessly,
Diamond Products Company (Corp.),
Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development,
Filed August 26, 2003
Department of Employment and Economic Development
Agency File No. 10588 02
Mary R. Vasaly, Elizabeth Snyder Poeschl, Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand, LLP, 3300 Wells Fargo Center, 90 South Seventh Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402-4140 (for relator)
Carol A. Ellingson, Bend & Ellingson, P.A., 6 West Fifth Street, Suite 700, St. Paul, Minnesota 55102-1420 (for respondent employer)
Lee B. Nelson, Philip B. Byrne, M. Kate Chaffee, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, Minnesota 55101 (for respondent commissioner)
Considered and decided by Hudson, Presiding Judge; Willis, Judge; and Forsberg, Judge.*
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Relator challenges the decision of the representative of the commissioner of economic security that relator was terminated from her job for intentional employment misconduct and is therefore disqualified from receiving unemployment-insurance benefits. Because we conclude that the commissioner’s representative’s findings of fact have reasonable evidentiary support, we affirm the disqualification.
In 1974, relator Kathleen Haessly was hired by the Gillette Company, which manufactured personal-care products such as deodorant and antiperspirant. In 1989, Haessly began work as a chemical mixer for Gillette.
A federal regulation governing the manufacture of personal-care products requires that each “component [chemical] shall be added to the batch [of product] by one person and verified by a second person.” 21 C.F.R. § 211.101(d) (2003). On June 3, 1996, Gillette held a meeting for chemical mixers to discuss its batch-documentation policy, which it had developed to comply with the federal regulation. The policy stated that for
FDA products, you MUST have a 2nd person physically watch and verify [that] the correct quantity and correct chemicals go into the batch. Locker room signatures are not acceptable.
(Emphasis added.) Mixers or their managers were to serve as “checkers” and verify that the correct chemicals were added, in accordance with the federal regulation. Copies of company policies, such as the one discussed at the June 3 meeting, were customarily handed out at employee meetings and were posted afterward at a desk where mixers routinely stopped to pick up assignments. Haessly worked on June 3 but later testified that she could not remember whether she attended the meeting or received the policy.
On October 28, 1996, Gillette held another meeting for mixers and at that meeting distributed a document that stated:
All Rollon Products and Dandruff Shampoo require a 2nd Checker Signature. This person must observe you adding the chemicals to the batch and is verifying that the correct chemical and quantity is being added.
(Emphasis added.) At the October 28 meeting, employees were told that a checker could not simply ask a mixer if he or she added the proper chemicals in the proper amounts. To comply with the batch-documentation policy, the checker had to have “personal knowledge” that an ingredient had been correctly added. Haessly attended the October 28 meeting, though she later testified that she could not remember being told that checkers had to observe the chemicals being added.
On March 15 and 16, 1999, Haessly attended meetings that Gillette held regarding its “integrity policy,” which provided that batch documentation “must be accurate and truthful,” and that “[k]nowingly failing to enter information truthfully will result in termination.” A memorandum explaining the integrity policy was issued to mixers at the March 1999 meetings. Gillette developed the integrity policy after three incidents in which mixers had not followed the batch-documentation policy and had later lied to management to cover up the violations.
In April 2000, the Gillette facility where Haessly worked was purchased by respondent Diamond Products Company. Diamond Products retained both the Gillette integrity policy and the batch-documentation policy that required checkers to “physically watch and verify” that the correct chemicals went into the batch in the correct quantities.
On April 17, 2002, Haessly, acting as a checker, signed a “batch sheet,” which documented the chemicals added to a batch, for a mixer who worked the 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. shift. Haessly worked the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift on April 17. Haessly’s supervisor saw that Haessly had verified a batch that was mixed at a time when Haessly was not at work, and Haessly admitted that she was not present when the chemicals were added to the batch that she had verified. Haessly was then fired for “[f]alsifying documentation” in violation of the integrity policy.
After her termination, Haessly applied for unemployment-insurance benefits. The department of economic security determined that Haessly had been fired for employment misconduct and that she was disqualified from receiving benefits.
Haessly appealed the determination to an unemployment-law judge (ULJ). At the hearing before the ULJ, Haessly admitted that she had signed the batch sheet even though she did not observe the chemicals being added but claimed that, at the time, she did not believe she was violating Diamond Products’ policies. She testified that (1) checkers did not physically observe the chemicals she added when she was acting as a mixer, (2) other mixers and supervisors produced batches without having a checker physically observe the adding of chemicals, and (3) asking a mixer whether he or she added the correct chemicals was sufficient verification because the batch sheets were later entered into a computer that would reject them if the wrong chemicals had been added. Haessly’s supervisor testified that (1) he had investigated Haessly’s claim that other employees did not follow the batch-documentation and integrity policies, (2) nine of the ten checkers he interviewed knew how to verify the chemicals added to a batch in accordance with the policies, and (3) the tenth checker “had a different understanding” of the policies but nonetheless performed his job correctly. The ULJ inquired of the supervisor whether asking a mixer if he or she had “added everything correctly [could] be considered verification.” The supervisor answered, “Absolutely not.”
Following the hearing, the ULJ found that Haessly “demonstrated indifferent or negligent conduct on the job that showed a substantial lack of concern for the employment” and affirmed the initial determination by the department of economic security that Haessly was fired for misconduct and thus disqualified from receiving benefits. Haessly appealed to the representative of the commissioner of economic security, who found that Haessly knew what her employer’s policies required and had “intentionally disregarded her duties and obligations to the employer and [that] her conduct demonstrated a substantial lack of concern for her employment.” The commissioner’s representative affirmed the disqualification, and this review, by writ of certiorari, follows.
D E C I S I O N
The commissioner’s representative found that Haessly’s conduct showed an intentional disregard for Diamond Products’ policies and concluded that she was disqualified from receiving benefits. This court reviews de novo the commissioner’s representative’s conclusions of law. McCourtney v. Imprimis Tech., Inc., 465 N.W.2d 721, 724 (Minn. App. 1991). We view the commissioner’s representative’s findings of fact in the light most favorable to the decision and will not overturn findings that have reasonable evidentiary support. Fujan v. Ruffridge-Johnson Equip., 535 N.W.2d 393, 395 (Minn. App. 1995). Whether an employee engaged in conduct that disqualifies her from receiving unemployment-insurance benefits is a mixed question of law and fact. Schmidgall v. FilmTec Corp., 644 N.W.2d 801, 804 (Minn. 2002).
An applicant for unemployment-insurance benefits who was discharged from employment by an employer shall not be disqualified from receiving benefits unless the applicant was discharged for “employment misconduct.” Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 4(1) (2002). “Employment misconduct” is:
(1) any intentional conduct * * * that disregards the standards of behavior that an employer has the right to expect of the employee or disregards the employee’s duties and obligations to the employer; or
(2) negligent or indifferent conduct * * * that demonstrates a substantial lack of concern for the employment.
Id., subd. 6(a) (2002). Because the unemployment-insurance statute is remedial in nature, its disqualification provisions must be narrowly construed. Prickett v. Circuit Sci., Inc., 518 N.W.2d 602, 604 (Minn. 1994). The supreme court has held that the “intentional conduct” prong of the statute requires a showing that the employee (1) engaged in intentional, meaning deliberate and not accidental, conduct and (2) intended to ignore her duties or the standards of behavior that the employer has a right to expect. Houston v. Int’l Data Transfer Corp., 645 N.W.2d 144, 150 (Minn. 2002).
Here, the commissioner’s representative found that Haessly knew that, under Diamond Products’ policies, (1) checkers had to observe and verify the chemicals added to a batch and (2) falsifying batch documentation or other deliberate untruthfulness was a ground for termination. The record indicates that Haessly attended the October 28, 1996 meeting at which management handed out the policy stating that checkers “must observe [mixers] adding the chemicals to the batch.” Haessly also was at work on June 3, 1996, when management distributed the policy requiring checkers to “physically watch and verify [that] the correct quantity and correct chemicals go into the batch.” Although the record does not indicate whether Haessly attended the June meeting, the record reasonably supports the conclusion that Haessly was aware of the policy discussed at the meeting. Finally, Haessly attended the March 12, 1999 meeting at which management explained the integrity policy, under which checkers could be fired for falsifying batch documentation. Thus, there is reasonable evidentiary support for the finding that Haessly knew what Diamond Products’ batch-documentation and integrity policies required of her.
The commissioner’s representative also found that Haessly intentionally disregarded Diamond Products’ policies. Haessly does not argue that signing the batch sheet on April 17, 2002, without observing the chemicals being added complied with the policies. Rather, she asserts that (1) checkers routinely did not physically observe the adding of chemicals when she worked as a mixer, (2) she did not believe she was violating company policies because other mixers and supervisors produced batches without having a checker physically observe the adding of chemicals, and (3) she believed that verification was unnecessary because, once the batch sheets were entered into the computer, the computer would indicate if the wrong chemicals had been added. But the evidence indicates that (1) Haessly knew that Diamond Products required its checkers to personally verify the chemicals being added and (2) by signing the batch sheet on April 17, Haessly indicated that she had verified a batch though she was not at work when the mixing occurred and had no way of personally verifying whether the correct chemicals were added in the correct amounts. Thus, the evidence reasonably supports the finding that Haessly intentionally ignored her duties or the standards of behavior that Diamond Products had a right to expect. See Houston, 645 N.W.2d at 150; cf. Whorton v. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs., 368 N.W.2d 750 (Minn. App. 1985) (upholding finding of misconduct where fired government inspector allowed employees of inspected business to complete inspections and documented inspections at which he was not present).
Haessly maintains that her conduct was the result of a good-faith misunderstanding of Diamond Products’ policies. “A good faith misunderstanding of the employer’s rules or policies does not constitute misconduct.” Tuckerman Optical Corp. v. Thoeny, 407 N.W.2d 491, 493 (Minn. App. 1987) (citation omitted). But we have concluded that there is reasonable evidentiary support for the commissioner’s representative’s finding that Haessly knew what Diamond Products’ policies required of her. Therefore, we need not address whether Haessly’s conduct was the result of a good-faith misunderstanding. The decision of the commissioner’s representative disqualifying Haessly from receiving benefits is affirmed.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.
 As of July 1, 2003, the commissioner of economic security is now known as the commissioner of employment and economic development and the Minnesota Department of Economic Security is now known as the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.