This opinion will be unpublished and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
Peter J. Zwakman,
Quality Carpentry of Cedar Inc.,
Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development,
Department of Employment and Economic Development
File No. 13254 03
Peter J. Zwakman, 3381 Commonwealth Avenue, Woodbury, MN 55125-4314 (pro se relator)
Quality Carpentry of Cedar Inc., 19915 Gladiola Street Northwest, Cedar, MN 55011-9330 (respondent)
Lee B. Nelson, Linda A. Holmes, Department of Employment and Economic Development, 390 North Robert Street North, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development)
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge; Klaphake, Judge; and Hudson, 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 Employment and Economic Development that because he did not quit for good cause he is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. We affirm.
On appeal, this court reviews the decision of the commissioner’s representative, rather than the decision of the unemployment law judge. Kalberg v. Park & Recreation Bd., 563 N.W.2d 275, 276 (Minn. App. 1997). Decisions of the commissioner’s representative are accorded “particular deference.” Tuff v. Knitcraft Corp., 526 N.W.2d 50, 51 (Minn. 1995). While this court defers to the commissioner’s findings of fact if the evidence in the record reasonably supports them, the court exercises its independent judgment with respect to questions of law. Ress v. Abbott Northwestern Hosp., Inc., 448 N.W.2d 519, 523 (Minn. 1989). And whether an employee had good cause to quit is a question of law that this court reviews de novo. Wood v. Menard, Inc., 490 N.W.2d 441, 443 (Minn. App. 1992).
An employee who quits employment is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits unless the employee quit because of a good reason caused by the employer. Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(1) (2002). “A good reason caused by the employer for quitting is a reason: (1) that is directly related to the employment and for which the employer is responsible; and (2) that is 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). Further, if an employee “was subjected to adverse working conditions by the employer,” the employee “must complain to the employer and give the employer a reasonable opportunity to correct the adverse working conditions before that may be considered a good reason caused by the employer for quitting.” Id., subd. 3(b) (2002).
Relator does not contest the fact that he voluntarily quit, thus we need only determine whether relator had a good reason to quit caused by his employer. Here, relator complains he quit for good reason because his employer was responsible for an increase in his commuting time. We disagree because the record indicates that the change in commuting time would not compel an average, reasonable worker to quit. Relator knew that in the construction industry, job site changes were common and that the change in this case was not permanent. Initially, relator lived in Woodbury and was working at a job site in St. Paul. He was subsequently transferred to a job site in Shafer that lasted for approximately one month. The job site was then moved to Maple Grove, but relator chose not to work at the Maple Grove site. We conclude that on these facts the proposed commute from Woodbury to Maple Grove would not compel an average reasonable worker to quit. Moreover, the record indicates that if relator had not quit his employment, he would have been transferred from Maple Grove back to a job site in St. Paul after approximately one month. Thus, appellant’s increased commute would have only lasted for approximately two months.
Finally, we note that the record indicates that appellant never complained to the employer or gave the employer a reasonable opportunity to correct the adverse working conditions prior to quitting, as required by Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 3(b).
Because a reasonable person in relator’s position would not have quit and because appellant failed to comply with section 268.095, subdivision 3(b), we conclude that the commissioner’s representative did not err in determining that appellant is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.