This opinion will be unpublished and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

A03-475

 

Kevin L. Paquette,

Relator,

 

vs.

 

Exterior Systems, Inc.,

Respondent,

 

Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development,

Respondent.

 

Filed February 17, 2004

Affirmed

Halbrooks, Judge

 

 

Department of Employment and Economic Development

File No. 17723 02

 

 

Kevin L. Paquette, 805 Fairbanks Street, Iron Mountain, MI 49801 (pro se relator)

 

Exterior Systems, Inc., Norandex, Inc., c/o Sheakley Uniservice, Inc., P.O. Box 1160, Columbus, OH 43216-1160 (respondent)

 

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

 

 

 

            Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Halbrooks, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

HALBROOKS, Judge

            Relator challenges the commissioner’s representative’s decision that relator quit employment without good reason caused by the employer and is, therefore, disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.  Relator contends that he had good reason to quit because he did not have the physical ability to do the work and because the work caused him constant pain.  We affirm.

FACTS

Relator Kevin Paquette began working as a warehouse worker and delivery driver for respondent Exterior Systems, Inc. on November 1, 2001.  The job requires employees to lift 12-foot bundles of aluminum/vinyl siding that weigh approximately 100 pounds each.  Prior to accepting the position, relator told branch manager Marla Marks that he could handle the lifting requirements.  But after approximately two weeks, relator notified Marks that the job was too physically demanding and caused him constant pain in his back, neck, and shoulders.  Nonetheless, relator decided to continue working, hoping that he was merely out of shape and that the pain would subside. 

On December 5, 2001, relator informed Marks that he was quitting because he was “physically unable to do the job . . . [and] couldn’t lift the items on a daily basis because [he] was hurting [him]self daily.”[1]  Marks asked relator if he would like to stay at Exterior Systems until he found another job, but relator declined for fear that he would hurt himself or damage a product.  Soon after, relator changed his mind and contacted Marks to see if he could accept her offer.  But Marks told relator that the company had concerns that he would hurt himself if he continued to do the work.

Relator established a benefits account with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (the department).  Two months later, the department determined that relator quit for “personal reasons, not with a good reason due to the employer,” and was, therefore, disqualified from receiving benefits.  Relator appealed to an unemployment law judge, who concluded that because relator did not quit within 30 days of beginning employment or for good reason caused by the employer, he was disqualified from receiving benefits.  Relator appealed to the commissioner’s representative, who affirmed.  This appeal follows.

D E C I S I O N

An employee who voluntarily resigns from employment is disqualified from receiving benefits unless the employee quit because of “a good reason caused by the employer.”  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(1) (2002).  We review de novo whether an employee quits for good reason.  Kehoe v. Minn. Dep’t of Econ. Sec., 568 N.W.2d 889, 890 (Minn. App. 1997).  But we defer to the commissioner’s representative’s factual findings where there is evidence reasonably tending to support them.  White v. Metro. Med. Ctr., 332 N.W.2d 25, 26 (Minn. 1983). 

Relator has the burden of proving that he quit for a good reason caused by his employer.  See Hein v. Precision Assocs., Inc., 609 N.W.2d 916, 918 (Minn. App. 2000).  A good reason is one that is (1) “directly related to the employment and for which the employer is responsible” and is (2) “significant and would compel an average, reasonable worker to quit and become unemployed rather than remaining in the employment.”  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 3(a) (2002).  Adverse working conditions are considered a good reason to quit if the employee “complain[s] to the employer and give[s] the employer a reasonable opportunity to correct the adverse working conditions.”  Id., subd. 3(b) (2002).  But good cause attributable to the employer does not include circumstances where an employee experiences mere dissatisfaction with working conditions.  Portz v. Pipestone Skelgas, 397 N.W.2d 12, 14 (Minn. App. 1986).

Here, the commissioner’s representative concluded that relator was disqualified from receiving benefits because he quit his employment and no exception to disqualification found in Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(1), applied.  The commissioner’s representative reasoned that

[relator] quit because he could not lift the objects involved with his position.  The employer informed [relator] up front about the lifting requirements.  [Relator] told the employer he thought he could handle it.  He stayed with the employment over a month before quitting.  The preponderance of the evidence does not demonstrate that [relator] quit employment because of a good reason caused by the employer.

 

We agree.  Marks testified that Exterior Systems informs all potential employees about the lifting requirements, and relator admits that he was “told in the interview that some heavy lifting would be required for the job, [and that at] the time, [he] was sure [he] could perform this job.”  Relator also admits that within two weeks, he knew that he “simply was not qualified for the job” because he “did not have the physical ability to do the work that was required.”  Had relator quit after two weeks, he would have been entitled to benefits.  See Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(3) (providing that an employee who quits within 30 days because the employment is unsuitable for the employee is not disqualified from receiving benefits).  But relator quit after 35 days, and he has failed to demonstrate that any other exception to disqualification applies. 

We conclude that relator’s dissatisfaction with his working conditions and his personal inability to perform the tasks required for the job are not “good reasons” to quit caused by his employer.  Therefore, the commissioner’s representative did not err in determining that relator is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. 

            Affirmed.

 

 



[1] Relator never sought medical attention for his pain.  According to relator, “[n]o medical attention was needed.”