This opinion will be unpublished and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
Interstate Brands Corporation,
Department of Employment and Economic Development,
Filed June 13, 2006
Interstate Brands Corporation, 5130 Winetka Avenue North, New Hope, MN 55303 (respondent)
Linda A. Holmes, Department of Employment and Economic Development, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200, St. Paul, MN 55101-1351 (for respondent Department)
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Relator challenges the decision of the unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that she is disqualified from receiving benefits because she quit her employment without a good reason caused by the employer. Because the ULJ’s findings, inferences, conclusion, and decision are not affected by an error of law and are supported by substantial evidence, we affirm.
Relator Lynette Khan quit her job as the manager of a bread thrift store when it became the manager’s responsibility for daily deposits of the store’s receipts at a bank. She refused to carry the money to the bank out of fear that she or somebody else would get hurt.
Relator testified that around 1989 her husband was “murdered for money.” She thought her circumstances were similar to her husband’s situation by “the fact that it’s dealing with money.” Relator had two years of counseling following her husband’s death, but it took relator ten years to “go back into that business.” In April 1999, she began working for respondent Interstate Brands Corp. as the manager of respondent’s thrift shop.
In 2005, after relator had worked for the company for six years, the company decided to begin requiring its managers to make daily deposits at the bank. When relator’s boss, John Howard, asked her to begin making the deposits, relator refused out of fear. She explained her situation to Howard, who offered her the position of retail clerk at a reduced wage to avoid the manager’s new responsibility of making deposits. Relator declined the offer, assuming that she would be asked to do the same duties she had been performing as a manager but at a lower wage. Relator testified that the other thrift-shop managers also did not want to make the deposits.
The department initially determined that relator was disqualified from receiving benefits. She appealed and, after a hearing, the ULJ agreed that her quit was not for good reason caused by the employer. On reconsideration, the ULJ affirmed.
An applicant who quits employment may qualify for unemployment benefits if the quit was for a good reason caused by the employer. Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(1) (2004 & Supp. 2005). We will reverse or modify the ULJ’s decision if the substantial rights of the petitioner may have been prejudiced because the findings, inferences, conclusion, or decision are affected by error of law, or are unsupported by substantial evidence. Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d) (Supp. 2005).
A good reason
caused by the employer requires that the applicant have a reason “(1) that is directly
related to the employment and for which the employer is responsible; (2) that
is adverse to the worker; and (3) that would compel an average, reasonable
worker to quit and become unemployed rather than remaining in the employment.” Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 3 (2004). “What constitutes good reason caused by the
employer is defined exclusively by statute.”
The question is
whether “the employer made unreasonable demands of [the] employee that no one
person could be expected to meet.” See Zepp v. Arthur Treacher Fish &
Chips, Inc., 272 N.W.2d 262, 263 (
To receive benefits, relator must demonstrate not only that she found the new duty adverse to her but also that the changed conditions were sufficient to compel the average, reasonable worker to quit. There is ample evidence that relator is significantly more sensitive than the average worker regarding the transporting of money; she had two years of counseling after her husband’s death 16 years ago, but still fears this new duty. But there is no evidence that her fear is a medical condition or that the average worker would quit rather than perform this duty. She has worked as a manager in a thrift store for six years, apparently handling money in the store without incident. The new duty, transporting the receipts to a bank, could have been performed during her regular dayshift (anytime after 11 a.m.) and would not have been a substantial change in the terms of her employment. Therefore, the ULJ properly concluded that relator’s personal reason for quitting her employment disqualified her from receiving unemployment benefits.