This opinion will be unpublished and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
James K. Smith,
Midwest Lending Corp.,
Commissioner of Employment and
Filed August 24, 2004
Department of Employment and Economic Development
File No. 12809 03
James K. Smith, P.O. Box 192, Hopkins, MN 55305 (relator pro se)
Midwest Lending, 8011 34th Avenue South, Suite 150, Bloomington, MN 55425-1667 (respondent)
Lee B. Nelson, Linda A. Holmes, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, 390 Robert Street North, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent Commissioner)
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Hudson, Judge.
Pro se relator James K. Smith challenges a decision by a representative of respondent Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development, determining that he quit his employment as a loan officer with respondent Midwest Lending Corporation and is thus disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. Because the record reasonably supports the decision of the commissioner’s representative that relator quit his employment due to job dissatisfaction and other personal reasons, and not due to any good reason caused by Midwest Lending, we affirm.
An employee who quits his employment is not entitled to unemployment benefits unless one of eight exceptions to disqualification applies. Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1 (2002). One of those exceptions is afforded to an employee who quits “because of a good reason caused by the employer.” Id., subd. 1(1). Another exception arises when the employee quits “because [a] serious illness or injury made it medically necessary [to] quit.” Id., subd. 1(7). While the issue of whether an employee has quit his job is a question of fact to be determined by the commissioner’s representative, the issue of whether an employee is eligible for benefits because he had a good reason to quit is one of law for this court. Peppi v. Phyllis Wheatley Cmty. Ctr., 614 N.W.2d 750, 752 (Minn. App. 2000); Lilledahl v. Process Displays Co., 413 N.W.2d 273, 274 (Minn. App. 1987).
Relator first argues that he did not quit his employment with Midwest Lending, but that he was discharged when he received a voicemail on July 3 informing him that if he did not call in that day, he would be fired. “A quit . . . 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). By contrast, a “discharge” occurs “when any words or actions by an employer would lead a reasonable employee to believe that the employer will no longer allow the employee to work for the employer in any capacity.” Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 5(a) (2002).
Here, the commissioner’s representative found that between June 30 and July 3, relator stopped coming to work for personal reasons related to his living situation and frustrations with his job. Between July 3 and July 11, relator came only intermittently to work. Although he called in several times and his initial absences were excused, the employer finally attempted to set up a meeting with relator to discuss his employment status. Relator agreed to at least two meetings on July 11 and July 14, but failed to show up for either. Relator eventually called and told his employer that he was “moving on.” While relator may dispute these findings, we must defer to credibility determinations made by the commissioner’s representative. See Whitehead v. Moonlight Nursing Care, Inc., 529 N.W.2d 350, 352 (Minn. App. 1995). We conclude that the commissioner’s representative’s finding that relator quit his employment is reasonably supported by the record.
Relator further argues that he was forced to quit because he was not receiving the same opportunities as other loan officers. A good reason caused by an employer is defined as a compelling reason for which the employer is responsible and one that would cause an “average, reasonable worker to quit and become unemployed” rather than remain employed. Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 3(a)(1), (2) (2002). Mere dissatisfaction with an employer over job duties or requirements does not constitute good reason caused by an employer to quit. See, e.g., Portz v. Pipestone Skelgas, 397 N.W.2d 12, 14 (Minn. App. 1986) (stating that good cause does not encompass situations where employee is simply frustrated or dissatisfied with others at work or with working conditions).
Here, relator claims that he was not successful as a loan officer because (1) he failed to receive “equal opportunities as other sales executives”; (2) he was “unable to telemarket clients [due to] telemarketing laws”; and (3) he was “not receiving the same possibilities of networking opportunities as other executives.” The commissioner’s representative, however, noted that the employer “provided credible testimony [that relator] was not treated unfairly or differently than other employees.” The commissioner’s representative further noted that “[w]hile [relator’s] dissatisfaction with his employment conditions may have prodded him to seek other work, we are not persuaded his employment conditions were such [that] the average reasonable employee would quit and join the ranks of the unemployed under similar circumstances.” We agree with the commissioner’s representative and conclude that relator failed to show any good reason caused by his employer to quit.
Relator finally argues that he was forced to quit because he could not endure the long commute due to injuries he received in an automobile accident. Although relator made this claim at the hearing before the unemployment law judge, he presented no evidence of his medical condition and admitted that he “was on no [medical] restrictions” and that he “could work.” In connection with this certiorari appeal, relator presents, for the first time, several documents that he claims “identif[y] my back injuries and the therapy I was receiving and [prove that I was] unable to commute and travel.” These documents are not part of the record and may not be considered by this court on appeal. See Plowman v. Copeland, Buhl & Co., 261 N.W.2d 581, 583 (Minn. 1977).
Even if we were to consider these documents, however, and even if these documents established that relator suffered from serious injuries, he still is not entitled to reversal in this case. In order for an employee to establish that he is not disqualified because a serious injury made it medically necessary for him to quit, he must show that he “inform[ed] the employer of the serious illness or injury and request[ed] accommodation and no reasonable accommodation [was] made available.” Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(7). While relator claimed that his employer knew of his injuries and that he could not endure the long commute to work, the employer’s representative testified at the hearing that he did not know the extent of relator’s injuries, that relator never informed him that he was having problems with the commute, and that relator never requested any accommodations. Again, we must defer to the credibility determinations made by the commissioner’s representative. Whitehead, 529 N.W.2d at 352.
Accordingly, we affirm the decision of the commissioner’s representative disqualifying relator from receiving unemployment benefits because he quit his employment and because no exception to disqualification applies.