This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Richard J. Soder,
Department of Employment and Economic Development,
Filed October 25, 2005
Department of Employment and Economic Development
File No. 12102 04
Michael J. Ford, Krista L. Durrwachter, Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A., Suite 600, 400 South 1st Street, P.O. Box 1008, St. Cloud, MN 56302-1008 (for relator)
Frank J. Kundrat, Kundrat Law Office, P.A.,
Linda A. Holmes, Department of Employment and Economic Development, E200 First National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent department)
Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge; Peterson, Judge; and Halbrooks, Judge.
By writ of certiorari, relator challenges the determination that he quit his employment without a good reason attributable to his employer, thereby disqualifying him from receiving unemployment benefits. Because the record reasonably supports the findings and the decision that relator quit without good reason attributable to his employer, we affirm.
April 2003 to June 2004, relator Richard Soder was employed as an office
manager by respondent Stanley Steemer (Stanley). In that capacity, Soder booked cleaning jobs,
balanced the company’s checkbook, ran the payroll program, and engaged in the
hiring and discharge of employees. In
addition to those office duties, Soder occasionally engaged in van work, which
is the service aspect of the company. Soder testified that he enjoyed working in the
vans and that he “excelled at it.” But
as a result of a nonwork-related accident in January 2004, Soder broke his arm
and stopped working in the vans.
surgery turned out to be more extensive than anticipated. As a result, his physician imposed work
restrictions for 3-6 months that precluded him from working as crew chief. On July 5, 2004, Soder informed
applied for unemployment benefits, and
SURJ found that any change in Soder’s pay under the new commission scales was
too speculative to determine; that
certiorari appeal, we review the decision of the SURJ. Tuff v.
Knitcraft Corp., 526 N.W.2d 50, 51 (
I. Factual Findings
challenges a number of the factual findings made by the SURJ. On appeal, this court views the factual
findings “in the light most favorable to the decision, and if there is evidence
reasonably tending to sustain them, they will not be disturbed.” White
v. Metro. Med. Ctr., 332 N.W.2d 25, 26 (
Soder first challenges the SURJ’s finding that he requested to work in the vans. The SURJ determined, after weighing conflicting testimony—Stanley asserting that Soder made this request and Soder denying it—that Soder was unhappy working in the office because he did not get along with the owner and that he wished to work in the vans instead. Furthermore, the SURJ determined that Soder desired to work in the vans because Soder believed that he would make more money working in the vans than in the office. Because there is evidence in the record reasonably tending to sustain the SURJ’s finding that Soder requested to work in the vans, we will not disturb it.
Soder next challenges the SURJ’s finding that any potential decrease in wages was too speculative to determine. Soder contends that he would have realized a 50% decrease in wages due to the new commission scale. As office manager, Soder received $8 an hour compensation, plus commission based on the number of jobs he booked and the price value of those jobs. If Soder booked over 30 jobs, the commission scale provided that he received 1% commission, which increased by .25% every five jobs. In addition, if Soder booked a job that had a price value of $180, he received a 1.5% commission, which also increased by .25% every five dollars. As a crew chief, Soder received $8 an hour compensation, plus 14% commission on all scheduled jobs, and 15% commission on all unscheduled jobs—jobs that he sold while performing the scheduled jobs.
the new commission scale for the office-manager position,
The most radical
II. Decision to Quit Employment
Good Reason Caused by Employer
employee has a good reason to quit caused by the employer is a question of law,
which this court reviews de novo. Peppi v. Phyllis Wheatley Cmty. Ctr.,
614 N.W.2d 750, 752 (
employee may quit for good cause when an employer substantially changes the
conditions of employment. See, e.g., Rootes v. Wal-Mart Assocs., Inc.,
669 N.W.2d 416, 418-19 (
is undisputed that Soder voluntarily quit.
Thus, the ultimate issue is whether Soder resigned for good cause
is no evidence in the record that Soder’s new position as crew chief would have
resulted in a substantial adverse change in pay, certainly not the 50%
reduction in income asserted by Soder.
Soder did not
In addition, there
is no evidence in the record that Soder’s new position was a demotion in rank
or position. He contends that acting as
a crew chief constitutes “manual labor,” and thus, requires less skill than an
office manager. But because Soder
requested to work in the vans, the change can be considered neither a demotion
nor a good cause to quit attributable to
any potential decrease in pay due to the changed position is too speculative to
determine and because Soder requested the change in positions, Soder did not
quit his employment with good cause attributable to
The decision-maker conducting the review proceeding is now the
senior-unemployment-review judge rather than the commissioner’s
 The revisor’s office inadvertently substituted the phrase “ineligible for” for the phrase “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).