This opinion will be unpublished and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

A03-649

 

 

Celesta A. Dupri,

Relator,

 

vs.

 

Target Corporation,

Respondent,

 

Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development,

Respondent.

 

 

Filed November 18, 2003

Affirmed

Robert H. Schumacher, Judge

 

Department of Employment and Economic Security

File No. 335203

 

 

Celesta A. Dupri, Post Office Box 44054, Eden Prairie, MN 55344-1054 (pro se relator)

 

Joseph G. Schmitt, Sandra L. Jezierski, Halleland Lewis Nilan Sipkins & Johnson P.A., 600 Pillsbury Center South, 220 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for respondent Target)

 

Lee B. Nelson, Philip B. Byrne, Department of Employment and Economic Development, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent Commissioner)

 

 

Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge; Schumacher, Judge; and Shumaker, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N

ROBERT H. SCHUMACHER, Judge

On appeal by writ of certiorari, relator Celesta A. Dupri challenges the decision by the commissioner's representative disqualifying her from receiving unemployment benefits because she quit her employment with respondent Target Corporation. Dupri argues the commissioner's representative's decision is not supported by evidence in the record and that, even if she did quit, she is entitled to unemployment benefits because it was medically necessary that she quit. The evidence in the record reasonably supports the commissioner's representative's decision that Dupri voluntarily quit her employment with Target. We affirm.

FACTS

In October 2001, Dupri began working for Target as a customer service representative at Marshall Field's. Dupri took a medical leave of absence from work in August 2002 for bunion surgery. Dupri's medical leave of absence expired on December 2, 2002. Dupri was scheduled to return to work on December 2, but she failed to do so. Dupri claimed she was "not mentally or physically able to return to [work]," but she did not produce any medical documentation to support this claim. Target considered Dupri's failure to return to work a voluntary quit, and her medical insurance was terminated.

Dupri filed for unemployment benefits and an adjudicator from the Department of Economic Security found that Dupri voluntarily quit her employment when she failed to return to work from her medical leave of absence and that she did not quit for a good reason caused by Target. The adjudicator determined that Dupri was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.

Dupri appealed, and an unemployment law judge affirmed the adjudicator's determination, concluding that Dupri voluntarily quit her employment without a good reason caused by Target and there was no exception that would entitle her to unemployment benefits. Dupri again appealed, and a commissioner's representative concluded that Dupri was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because she voluntarily quit her employment.

D E C I S I O N

Our scope of review in unemployment benefit cases is limited to determining whether the record reasonably supports the commissioner's representative's decision. Tuff v. Knitcraft Corp., 526 N.W.2d 50, 51 (Minn. 1995). Decisions of the commissioner's representative are accorded particular deference. Id. Whether an employee has voluntarily quit employment is a question of fact for the commissioner. Shanahan v. Dist. Mem'l Hosp., 495 N.W.2d 894, 896 (Minn. App. 1993). The commissioner's representative's factual findings are viewed in the light most favorable to the decision and will not be disturbed if evidence in the record reasonably tends to sustain them. Lolling v. Midwest Patrol, 545 N.W.2d 372, 377 (Minn. 1996).

"A quit from employment occurs when the decision to end the employment was, at the time the employment ended, the employee's." Minn. Stat.  268.095, subd. 2(a) (2002). An employee quits when she "directly or indirectly exercises a free-will choice to leave the employment." Shanahan, 495 N.W.2d at 896.

Dupri argues that she did not quit her employment because Target fired her while she was on medical leave. To support this argument, Dupri claims that she was told not to return to the selling floor after her leave and her position at Marshall Field's was eliminated while she was on leave.

The record, however, does contain evidence that Dupri quit her employment. A medical statement from Dupri's doctor shows that Dupri was authorized to return to work beginning December 2, 2002 for a maximum of four hours per day. Dupri does not dispute that she never worked her scheduled four-hour shift on December 2. Target's leave-of-absence policy states that if an employee does not return to work when his or her leave of absence expires, the employee will be terminated. A letter from a human resources representative at Marshall Field's states that Dupri's employment was terminated on December 2 because she failed to provide the paperwork required to extend her leave of absence and because she failed to return to work. The evidence reasonably supports the commissioner's representative's finding that Dupri voluntarily quit her employment with Target.

Dupri argues in the alternative that if she did quit her job, it was medically necessary and therefore she is still entitled to unemployment benefits. An employee who quits employment may still receive unemployment benefits if the employee quit due to a "serious illness or injury" that made it medically necessary that the employee quit, provided the employee made reasonable efforts to remain in his or her employment in spite of serious illness or injury.[1] Minn. Stat.  268.095, subd. 1(7) (2002).

We find no evidence in the record to show that Dupri had a serious illness or injury that made it medically necessary for her to quit her employment with Target. In the medical statement, Dupri's own doctor states that it was not medically necessary for Dupri to quit her employment. Dupri provided no medical evidence to refute her doctor's statement. Dupri has not proven that she is entitled to unemployment benefits under the medical necessity exception.

Affirmed.



[1] The legislature amended Minn. Stat.  268.095, subd. 1(7) in 2003. Under the amendment, an employee is no longer required to make a reasonable effort to remain in his or her employment in spite of illness or injury. Instead, the employee must inform the employer of the serious illness or injury and request an accommodation. 2003 Minn. Laws 1st Spec. Sess. ch. 3, 11. Dupri quit her employment in 2002; the 2002 statutes govern whether she is entitled to unemployment benefits.