This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Joanne J. Julius,
Temp Force, LP,
Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development,
Department of Employment and Economic Development
File No. 733 03
Joanne J. Julius, P.O. Box 46293, Eden Prairie, MN 55344 (pro se relator)
Temp Force, LP, 14321 Nicollet Court, Suite 300, Burnsville, MN 55306 (respondent)
Lee B. Nelson, Department of Employment and Economic Development, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent Commissioner)
Considered and decided by Wright, Presiding Judge; Lansing, Judge; and Minge, Judge.
Relator challenges the decision of the commissioner’s representative that she quit her employment without good reason caused by the employer and, therefore, is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. Relator, who worked for a temporary agency, was removed from an assignment. Immediately thereafter, she engaged in offensive conduct and told the employer’s representative that she never wished to work for the employer again. The employer concluded that relator quit her job. Because relator’s conduct prevented her from learning of suitable employment, we affirm.
Temp Force, a temporary employment agency, employed relator Joanne Julius from August through November 2002. Julius was assigned to work for Wells Fargo as a data entry operator from September 21 to November 11, 2002. Her assignment ended due to lack of work. On November 20, Julius accepted a second assignment at Dart Transit as a human resources assistant.
On November 27, 2002, Dart Transit’s human resources representative called Temp Force and reported that Julius had made numerous errors and had responded in a confrontational manner when the errors were brought to her attention. Dart Transit then instructed the agency to cancel Julius’s assignment at the end of the day. An hour later, Dart Transit instructed Temp Force to remove Julius from the assignment immediately because she was “becoming very argumentative and showing a temper.”
Temp Force director Jean Washa went to Dart Transit to speak with Julius, who was unaware of the nature of Washa’s visit. Washa took Julius to a conference room and explained that, because the client had complained about Julius’s performance and conduct, Julius was being removed from the assignment. Washa assured Julius that Temp Force would work with her again. Julius became upset. She waved her finger in Washa’s face and called Washa offensive names. Julius then told Washa that she never wanted to work for Temp Force again.
Julius filed for unemployment benefits. An unemployment law judge determined that Julius was eligible for benefits because she was discharged from Temp Force for reasons other than employee misconduct. Temp Force appealed the decision. The commissioner’s representative reversed the unemployment law judge, determining that Julius quit without good reason caused by the employer and, therefore, was disqualified from receiving benefits. This certiorari appeal followed.
Appellate review of the factual findings of the commissioner’s representative is limited to determining whether the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the decision, reasonably supports the decision. Johnson v. Dolphin Staffing, 614 N.W.2d 252, 254 (Minn. App. 2000), review denied (Minn. Sept. 13, 2000). Whether an applicant is disqualified from receiving benefits is a question of law, which we review de novo. Id.
The commissioner’s representative determined that Julius “quit her job on November 27, 2002, due to [Julius’s] statement that she never wanted to work for [Temp Force] again.” The commissioner now concedes that this determination was erroneous because Julius’s employment relationship with Temp Force ended when Temp Force removed Julius from the Dart Transit assignment for poor work performance, which preceded Julius’s statements about future employment with Temp Force. Indeed, once a job assignment obtained through a temporary agency ends, the employment relationship between the employee and the temporary agency also ends, because there is neither a guarantee of future assignments nor an obligation to make them. Smith v. Employers’ Overload Co., 314 N.W.2d 220, 222 (Minn. 1981). Thus, Julius was discharged from Dart Transit for poor performance, not for misconduct that would disqualify her from receiving unemployment benefits. See Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 6 (2002). When Julius was removed from the job assignment at Dart Transit, her employment relationship ended with Temp Force.
The commissioner argues that Julius is nonetheless disqualified from receiving benefits because she avoided offers of suitable employment without good cause. Under Minnesota law, an employee is disqualified from unemployment benefits if the employee, without good cause, avoids an offer of suitable employment. Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 8(a)(3) (2002). “Suitable employment” is
employment in the [claimant’s] labor market area that is reasonably related to the [claimant’s] qualifications. In determining whether any employment is suitable for [a claimant], . . . prior training, experience, length of unemployment, prospects for securing employment in the [claimant’s] customary occupation, and the distance of the employment from the [claimant’s] residence shall be considered.
Minn. Stat. § 268.035, subd. 23a(a) (2002).
Ordinarily, the burden is on the employer to prove that it made a suitable offer of employment to an employee. Gonsior v. Alternative Staffing, Inc., 390 N.W.2d 801, 806 (Minn. App. 1986), review denied (Minn. Aug. 27, 1986). When the employer establishes that an offer has been made, the burden shifts to the employee to show good cause for rejecting the offer. Lewis v. Minneapolis Moline, Inc., 288 Minn. 432, 435-36, 181 N.W.2d 701, 704 (1970). But, where the employee’s conduct prevents the employee from learning of suitable employment, an employee can be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits even though a specific job assignment was not discussed. Lolling v. Midwest Partol, 545 N.W.2d 372, 377 (Minn. 1996).
From our review of the record, we conclude that Julius’s comments and conduct foreclosed her ability to learn of suitable employment. See id. (concluding that relator’s conduct prevented him from learning of available suitable employment where employer, without discussing specific job assignments, advised relator that other positions were available but relator threatened legal action and refused to meet employer to discuss available employment). When Washa told Julius that she was being removed from the assignment, Julius became upset and offensive. In response to Washa’s promise to assist Julius in finding other assignments, Julius responded that she never wanted to work for Temp Force again. At the hearing, Washa testifedthat “Temp Force continually has jobs in the $10 to $11 range,” but, because of Julius’s statements and behavior, Washa believed that Julius would not accept future assignments and Temp Force would not have placed Julius at another assignment. The commissioner’s representative found that “the employer did not wish to assign the applicant to any other client because of the applicant’s behavior and comments.” After she advised Temp Force that she would never again work for the employment agency, Julius did nothing to change the employer’s understanding that she was no longer available to accept assignments.
Under these circumstances, we find no legal authority to conclude that Julius is entitled to unemployment benefits where Temp Force relied on Julius’s preemptive refusal to accept an offer of suitable employment. Temp Force’s position is analogous to the employer’s position in Lolling, where the employer was precluded from discussing specific job assignments because of the relator’s conduct, which included threats of legal action and a refusal to meet and discuss available positions. Id.; see also Kabes v. Middleton, 324 N.W.2d 187, 190 (Minn. 1982) (holding that an employer is not required to communicate that work is available once an employee has announced a decision not to perform duties). We, therefore, affirm on other grounds the determination of the commissioner’s representative that Julius is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.
 Under certain circumstances, an employee quits employment with a temporary agency by refusing suitable employment after the completion of an assignment. Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 2(d) (2002). Those circumstances, however, are not present here because Julius was discharged before completing her assignment.