This opinion will be unpublished and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
John Harland Knowles,
Lyngblomsten Care Center Inc.,
Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development,
Filed October 26, 2004
Department of Employment and Economic Development
File No. 15912 03
John Harland Knowles, 750 4th Street East, Saint Paul, MN 55106-5143 (pro se relator)
Lyngblomsten Care Center Inc., 1415 Almond Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55108-2507 (respondent)
Lee B. Nelson, Linda A. Holmes, Department of Employment and Economic Development, 390 Robert Street North, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for Commissioner)
Considered and decided by Minge, Presiding Judge; Randall, Judge; and Willis, 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 commissioner’s representative that relator was discharged for employment misconduct and is therefore disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. Because we conclude that the commissioner’s representative’s findings of fact have reasonable evidentiary support and that those findings support his conclusion that relator was discharged for employment misconduct, we affirm.
Relator John Knowles was employed as an activities coordinator by Lyngblomsten Care Center, Inc., a nursing home, from December 16, 2002, to August 9, 2003.
On Thursday, August 7, 2003, Knowles was scheduled to facilitate a group activity at 7 p.m. and was expected to work until 8:30 p.m. or 9:00 p.m. That afternoon, he met with Janine McQuillan, the care center’s neighborhood coordinator, and Amy Wiffler, its administrator. They told him that he was suspected of “time theft” because he had reported hours worked on Saturdays when he was absent from work. McQuillan told Knowles that they would be considering what action to take, and the meeting ended at approximately 3:30 p.m.
Shortly after the meeting, Knowles left McQuillan a voice-mail message saying that he was very upset about the accusation and that he needed to know what would happen. Knowles then determined that he was too upset to continue working that day. He left work early without notifying anyone and without canceling the group activity.
On Friday, August 8, McQuillan discovered Knowles’s early Thursday departure when residents asked her why the scheduled activity had not taken place. Before this discovery, she had left Knowles a message that she would meet with him when he arrived for work on Saturday. McQuillan testified at the hearing before the unemployment-law judge that she intended to discuss a plan with Knowles regarding expectations for future behavior. But after learning of his absence from work, she and the administrator determined that Knowles had resigned when he left work early without permission.
On Saturday, August 9, Knowles met with McQuillan. She told him that he was no longer an employee of the care center because they considered his departure to be a voluntary quit. McQuillan later testified that the care center discharged Knowles solely for leaving early on August 7.
After his discharge, Knowles applied for unemployment benefits. The Minnesota Department of Economic Security determined that Knowles was disqualified from receiving benefits because he was discharged for walking off the job, which is employment misconduct. An unemployment-law judge affirmed the department’s decision. The commissioner’s representative affirmed the unemployment-law judge, but he found that Knowles was discharged for falsifying time reports as well as for leaving work early without proper notification. This certiorari appeal follows.
“Whether an employee engaged in conduct that disqualifies the employee from unemployment benefits is a mixed question of fact and law.” Schmidgall v. Filmtec Corp., 644 N.W.2d 801, 804 (Minn. 2002). While this court defers to the commissioner’s representative’s findings of fact if they are reasonably supported by the evidence in the record, 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). Whether an employee’s acts constitute misconduct is a question of law on which reviewing courts remain free to exercise their independent judgment. Id.
The commissioner’s representative found that Knowles left work early on August 7, 2003, without notifying his employer that he was leaving and without canceling the group activity that he was responsible for. Knowles does not contest these findings, and the record reasonably supports them.
But Knowles contends that the commissioner’s representative’s findings do not support the conclusion that he committed employment misconduct. A person discharged from employment because of employment misconduct is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 4(1) (Supp. 2003). Employment misconduct is
any intentional, negligent, or indifferent conduct, on the job or off the job (1) that evinces a serious violation of the standards of behavior the employer has the right to reasonably expect of the employee, or (2) that demonstrates a substantial lack of concern for the employment.
Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 6(a) (Supp. 2003). “Inefficiency, inadvertence, simple unsatisfactory conduct, a single incident that does not have a significant adverse impact on the employer, conduct an average reasonable employee would have engaged in under the circumstances . . . are not employment misconduct.” Id. The commissioner’s representative found that Knowles’s conduct was a serious violation of the standards of behavior that the care center had a right to reasonably expect of Knowles and that Knowles’s conduct demonstrated a substantial lack of concern for the employment.
Knowles argues that he did not commit employment misconduct because the care center did not have a right to expect him to continue working after he was threatened with discipline and because the care center did not have a right to expect him to know its expectations when he never received a copy of the employee handbook.
Employers have the right to expect their employees to work when scheduled and to inform them why they are not at work when they are scheduled to be. Del Dee Foods, Inc. v. Miller, 390 N.W.2d 415, 417 (Minn. App. 1986). The care center had a right to reasonably expect that (1) Knowles would finish his workday, even after he had been in a disciplinary meeting; (2) Knowles would facilitate the scheduled activity he was responsible for that evening; and (3) Knowles would inform his supervisor or other staff if he could not work and that he would notify staff and the residents of the cancellation of the group activity that evening. The record reasonably supports the commissioner’s representative’s decision that Knowles’s conduct was a serious violation of the standards of behavior that the care center had a right to expect of Knowles.
Knowles’s conduct also demonstrated a substantial lack of concern for his employment. A single instance of leaving work without permission or notice may constitute a “willful disregard of the employer’s interests . . . . demonstrat[ing] a lack of concern by the employee for his job.” Psihos v. R & M Mfg., 352 N.W.2d 849, 850 (Minn. App. 1984) (quotation omitted) (emphasis added). In Colburn v. Pine Portage Madden Bros. Inc., the supreme court determined that leaving work early, without permission and without completing the duties assigned to the employee, was conduct adverse to the interests of the employer and was employment misconduct. 346 N.W.2d 159, 161 (Minn. 1984). The record also reasonably supports the commissioner’s representative’s determination that Knowles’s conduct demonstrated a lack of concern by Knowles for his job. We conclude that the record supports the commissioner’s representative’s decision that Knowles was discharged for employment misconduct.
Knowles argues that his actions do not constitute misconduct because his employer could not expect him to know of its expectations when he never received or signed the employee handbook. But the care center did not terminate Knowles’s employment because he violated the employee handbook, and consequently, the handbook issue is irrelevant.
The commissioner’s representative also found that Knowles committed time theft by reporting hours worked when he was not working. Because the effect of Knowles’s departure from work on August 7, 2003, was the only issue before the unemployment-law judge, neither the care center nor Knowles presented evidence supporting or refuting the accusations that Knowles falsified his time reports. And the only finding offered by the Minnesota Department of Economic Security to support its determination that Knowles was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits was Knowles’s conduct of walking off of the job. Therefore, the finding that Knowles knowingly falsified time reports is not reasonably supported by the record.
Because Knowles committed employment misconduct by leaving work early without proper permission or notification, the commissioner’s representative did not err by deciding that Knowles is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.
 Knowles claims that he was running errands for his job, that this was commonly practiced in his department, and that he was the only person being disciplined for this conduct.
 The revisor’s office inadvertently substituted the term “ineligible for” for the term “disqualified from” in Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subds. 1, 4, 7, 8(a) (Supp. 2003). See Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subds. 1, 4, 7, 8(a) (2002) (using term “disqualified from”); 2003 Minn. Laws 1st Spec. Sess. ch. 3, art. 2, § 11 (making other changes to Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1, but retaining term “disqualified from”); 2003 Minn. Laws 1st Spec. Sess. ch. 3, art. 2, § 20(j), (k) (directing revisor to change the term “disqualified from” to “ineligible for” only in Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 12, and then to renumber to Minn. Stat. § 268.085, subd. 13b).
 Knowles argues that he should not be disciplined for time theft when others in his department engaged in the same conduct and were not disciplined. Because consideration of this issue is not necessary to our decision that Knowles committed employment misconduct, we do not discuss it. But an employer’s selective enforcement of rules is not a defense to a finding of employment misconduct. Sivertson v. Sims Sec. Inc., 390 N.W.2d 868, 871 (Minn. App. 1986), review denied (Minn. Aug. 20, 1986).