This opinion will be unpublished and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
Natural Spaces, Inc.,
Department of Employment and
Filed February 14, 2006
Department of Employment and Economic Development
File No. 871305
Natural Spaces, Inc., 37955 Briage Road, North Branch, MN 55056 (respondent)
Linda A. Holmes, Department of Employment and Economic Development, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200, St. Paul, MN 55101-1351 (for respondent Department)
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Hudson, Judge.
Relator challenges the determination of the unemployment law judge that he is disqualified from receiving benefits because he quit his employment without a good reason caused by his employer. Because evidence supports the factual finding that relator quit and because we conclude that he did not have a good reason caused by his employer for quitting, we affirm.
Relator Michael Sorenson began to work for respondent Natural Spaces, Inc., in January 2004. After about six months, relator asked respondent to reduce his hours because of a medical condition. Respondent asked relator to bring in a report from a doctor identifying his condition and setting out his work restrictions, but relator claimed that he did not want to get doctors involved. Respondent nevertheless granted relator’s request for reduced hours. Relator worked fewer than 40 hours per week until January 2005, when he returned to a 40-hour work week at respondent’s request.
In May 2005, relator told respondent’s shop manager that he was not well and was going home. The shop manager informed relator that he would have to bring a doctor’s report on his medical condition and his work restrictions before he would be allowed to return to work. The following day, relator called to ask about returning to work and was again told that he needed a doctor’s report on his condition and work restrictions. Relator replied, “That’s too bad.” Relator did not contact respondent about work again.
An employee who voluntarily
quits is entitled to unemployment benefits if the decision to quit is the
result of a good reason caused by the employer.
Minn. Stat. § 268.095 subd. 1(1) (2004). The issue of whether “an employee has been
discharged or voluntarily quit is a question of fact.” Midland
Elec., Inc. v.
“A quit from employment occurs when the
decision to end the employment was, at the time the employment ended, the
Here, the facts demonstrate that relator quit his employment. He made the decision to end his employment when he failed or refused to obtain a report from a doctor and when he failed to return to work. The shop manager never told relator that he would not be allowed to work in any capacity; rather, the shop manager told relator that he should see a doctor, get a report indicating his medical condition and work restrictions, and return to work. Thus, the evidence reasonably supports the finding that relator quit his job with respondent.
Good Reason Caused by the Employer
What constitutes a good reason caused by the employer is defined exclusively by statute. Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 3(g) (2004). A good reason to quit is a reason directly related to the employment and for which the employer is responsible; it is adverse to the worker; and it is significant enough that it would compel an average, reasonable worker to quit and become unemployed rather than remain in the employment. Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 3(a) (1)-(3) (2004).
Relator argues, implicitly if not explicitly, that requiring him to produce a doctor’s report of his physical condition and work restrictions was a “good reason caused by the employer” to quit. Even assuming that relator’s reason for quitting met the first two criteria listed above, it cannot meet the last because an average, reasonable worker with medical problems would not quit and become unemployed rather than obtain a doctor’s report on his condition and work limitations. The shop manager’s request that relator produce a doctor’s report before returning to work was entirely reasonable in the circumstances.
Relator claims that he attempted to give the shop manager a report from a doctor approximately six months after he started working, but that the shop manager had “refused it.” The record, however, contains no information from any doctor regarding relator’s condition or restrictions. In addition, the shop manager denied ever receiving any report from relator and claimed that he would never “put the company in that sort of jeopardy had an employee come to me with a doctor’s slip.” We therefore conclude that the evidence reasonably supports finding that relator made no effort to provide any medical information to respondent. See Schmidgall, 644 N.W. 2d at 804 (stating that this court will not disturb finding that is reasonably sustained by evidence). Relator’s reason for quitting was not a good reason caused by the employer.
Finally, even if the unemployment law judge had found that relator did not quit but was discharged, relator still would be disqualified from receiving benefits because relator committed employment misconduct when he refused to comply with respondent’s reasonable request to produce a doctor’s report. See Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 4(1) (2004) (applicant who was discharged because of employment misconduct is disqualified from receiving benefits). Respondent’s request that relator provide information from a doctor as to his medical condition and work restrictions was reasonable, and an employer has the right to make reasonable requests. See Schmidgall, 644 N.W.2d at 804 (stating that “refusing to abide by an employer’s reasonable . . . requests amounts to disqualifying misconduct”).