This opinion will be unpublished and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
Shoemaker & Ziegler Law Firm, L.L.C.,
Department of Employment and Economic Security,
Filed June 6, 2006
Shoemaker & Ziegler Law Firm, L.L.C., P.O.Box 1026, Detroit Lakes, MN 56502 (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 Patricia Mason challenges the decision of a senior unemployment review judge (SURJ) that she is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because she quit her employment. Because the evidence reasonably tends to sustain the finding that relator quit her employment, we affirm.
Relator worked as a legal secretary for respondent Shoemaker and Ziegler, L.L.C., a law firm, until April 2003, when she decided to leave her job because she disliked the swearing and the agitated, angry behavior of one of the partners.
When relator applied for unemployment benefits, she stated that she had been laid off due to a lack of work. A department adjudicator noted that “[i]nformation subsequently received from the employer indicates that the applicant quit without notice and was not laid off.” The department adjudicator found that relator quit for unknown disqualifying reasons and concluded that relator was disqualified from receiving benefits. Relator appealed. An unemployment law judge (ULJ) conducted a telephone hearing during which relator, the two attorneys who were partners in the law firm, and the law firm’s office manager testified. The ULJ issued a decision stating that the issue was: “Whether the applicant quit employment because of a good reason caused by the employer.” The ULJ found that relator quit “because she was dissatisfied with [one attorney’s] swearing and outbursts of anger in the office” and concluded that relator was disqualified from receiving benefits because she quit her employment and no exception applied. Relator again appealed, and an SURJ found that relator quit “due to her dissatisfaction with [one attorney’s] swearing and angry behavior at the office” and concluded that relator was disqualified from receiving benefits because she quit her employment and no exception applied. Relator challenges that decision.
an employee who quits employment is disqualified from receiving unemployment
benefits. Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1 (2002) “Whether an employee has been discharged or
voluntarily quit is a question of fact.”
Midland Elec. Inc. v. Johnson,
372 N.W.2d 810, 812 (
During the telephone hearing, the ULJ asked relator, “Did you quit or were you discharged[?]” Relator answered, “I left the employment.” The ULJ then said, “You quit,” and relator said, “Yes.” Relator also testified that she did not tell her employer that she was quitting. Thus, evidence sustains the finding that relator quit her employment.
appeal, relator argues that, a few days after she left her employment, the
employer “gave his permission for [her] to be laid off.” But whether an employee quit or was
discharged is determined as of the time the employment ends. See
Furthermore, an employer has no authority to state that an employee who quit was laid off.
Unemployment benefits are paid from state funds and shall not be considered . . . as paid by an employer. . . . An applicant’s entitlement to unemployment benefits shall be determined based upon that information available . . . and any agreement between an applicant and an employer shall not be binding on the commissioner in determining an applicant’s entitlement.
Minn. Stat. § 268.069, subd. 2 (2002). Therefore, even if relator’s employer had said relator could file for unemployment benefits as having been “laid off,” that statement does not demonstrate that relator is entitled to receive benefits.
Evidence supports the finding that relator quit her employment. She is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.
 There are
several statutory exceptions from this general rule, but relator does not claim
that any of the exceptions applies. See
 The ULJ
excluded as irrelevant testimony from relator’s witness regarding a statement
allegedly made by one of the attorneys a few days after relator left her
employment that relator would be laid off.
In her brief, relator objects that the exclusion was unfair because the
attorney was allowed to testify that he had not signed a form saying relator
was laid off. But that testimony was a
refutation of one of relator’s exhibits, a letter asserting that, after
relator’s employment ended, the attorney had “agree[d] that [relator] would be
laid off” and had “signed a form . . . that stated that he had laid her
off.” The decision to admit or exclude
evidence is within a fact-finder’s discretion.
See, e.g., Johnson v. Washington
County, 518 N.W.2d 594, 601 (