This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Department of Employment and Economic Development
File No. 662 04
Dennis R. Rippentrop, 20499 700th Street, Hayfield, MN 55940-8715 (pro se relator)
All Concrete Inc., 750 County Road 106 Southeast, Stewartville, MN 55976-8026 (respondent employer)
Lee B. Nelson, Linda A. Holmes, Department of Employment and Economic Development, E200 First National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent Commissioner)
Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge; Stoneburner, Judge; and Poritsky, Judge.*
Relator Dennis R. Rippentrop challenges the decision of the commissioner’s representative that he was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because he quit his job with All Concrete, Inc. without good cause attributable to the employer. We affirm.
This court examines the decision of the commissioner’s representative, rather than that of the unemployment law judge. Tuff v. Knitcraft Corp., 526 N.W.2d 50, 51 (Minn. 1995). The question of whether an employee has quit his job is a question of fact determined by the commissioner’s representative. Midland Elec., Inc. v. Johnson, 372 N.W.2d 810, 812 (Minn. App. 1985). But the question of whether the employee is eligible for benefits because he had a good reason to quit is one of law, which this court reviews de novo. Peppi v. Phyllis Wheatley Cmty. Ctr., 614 N.W.2d 750, 752 (Minn. App. 2000). We review a commissioner’s representative’s findings in the light most favorable to the decision and will not disturb them if there is evidence that reasonably tends to sustain them. Schmidgall v. FilmTec Corp., 644 N.W.2d 801, 804 (Minn. 2002). We also defer to the commissioner’s representative’s ability to weigh conflicting evidence. Whitehead v. Moonlight Nursing Care, Inc., 529 N.W.2d 350, 352 (Minn. App. 1995).
Rippentrop, who was a mechanic and shop manager at All Concrete, Inc. from August 2001 to July 2003, testified that he quit working at All Concrete because he was tired of dealing with Tory Keefe, the owner, who Rippentrop claims often drank on the job. Rippentrop testified that the working conditions at All Concrete were unfair and that Keefe assigned him to a management position against Rippentrop’s wishes. Rippentrop also testified that he often had to deal with delays in receiving parts for repair due to All Concrete’s financial difficulties. On July 24 or 25, 2003, Keefe became angry with Rippentrop because he thought Rippentrop had spent too much time on a particular task. According to Keefe, the two of them “got into it,” and Rippentrop told Keefe he was “fed up” and threatened to quit. Rippentrop finished the job, left the shop, and pursued another job with Donovan Enterprises, Inc.
Keefe testified that he may have on occasion had “a couple cocktails late in the day and come to the shop, but it wasn’t like an everyday deal.” Keefe also confirmed that on occasion All Concrete had to wait a day or two for parts because of financial reasons but stated that Rippentrop was never denied the parts necessary to finish a job.
An employee who voluntarily terminates his employment is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits unless he “quit the employment because of a good reason caused by the employer.” Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(1) (2002). The statute defines “good reason” as an action by the employer “(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.” Id., subd. 3(a)(1), (2) (2002). The test for reasonableness in this context is objective and is applied to the average person, not to the supersensitive. Ferguson v. Dep’t of Employment Servs., 311 Minn. 34, 44 n.5, 247 N.W.2d 895, 900 n.5 (1976). Irreconcilable differences with one’s employer or frustration and dissatisfaction with one’s working conditions is not a good reason to quit. Portz v. Pipestone Skelgas, 397 N.W.2d 12, 14 (Minn. App. 1986).
The commissioner’s representative found that Rippentrop’s complaints constituted “[m]ere dissatisfaction with employment or a supervisor” and that such dissatisfaction “is not a good reason caused by the employer for quitting employment.” Because the record supports the conclusion that Rippentrop was merely dissatisfied with Keefe and his working conditions and because we believe that such dissatisfaction would not compel an average, reasonable worker to quit and become unemployed rather than remain in the employment, we conclude that the commissioner’s representative did not err by holding that Rippentrop’s reason for leaving his employment did not constitute a good reason caused by the employer.
* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.