This opinion will be unpublished and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
Brenda M. Walker,
Employment and Economic Development,
Filed July 11, 2006
Toussaint, Chief Judge
Department of Employment and Economic Development
File No. 10606 05
Brenda M. Walker, 1217
Seventh Avenue South, South St. Paul, MN 55075 (pro se relator)
Associated Bank, c/o Talx UCM Services, Inc., Post
Office Box 283, St. Louis, MO 63166-0283 (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 Randall,
Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge;
and Willis, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I
N I O N
TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge
Relator Brenda M.
Walker 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
D E C I S I O N
An employee who
quits employment is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits unless
the employee can show that a statutory exception applies. To establish that she had “good reason caused
by the employer” for quitting, an employee must show that the employer was
responsible for the reason that: 1) was directly related to the employment, 2) was
adverse to the employee, and 3) would compel an average, reasonable employee to
quit and become unemployed rather than remaining in the employment. Minn.
Stat. § 268.095, subds. 1, 3 (2004).
This court may
reverse or modify the ULJ’s decision if the substantial rights of the employee
may have been prejudiced because the findings, inferences, conclusion, or
decision is affected by error of law or unsupported by substantial
evidence. Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d) (Supp.
2005). In reviewing the ULJ’s decision, this
court does not consider matters outside of the record. Because the ULJ made no finding that there was
any reason to hold an additional hearing, see
id., subd. 2(c), and, because, on review, we consider only the administrative
record, Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 115.04, subd. 1, we do not consider any
additional or new evidence presented in Walker’s
appellate brief, addenda, and attachment.
Walker claims that her employer intended to
fire her regardless of anything she might have done to improve her performance. It is mere speculation whether her employer
would have discharged her after the probation period, however, because Walker quit after less
than one month of probation. In any
event, even notification of a future discharge is not considered a good reason
caused by the employer for quitting. Minn.
Stat. § 268.095, subd. 3(e) (2004).
Walker also claims that the facts support a
“hostile environment” justifying the quit.
The only definition of good reason caused by the employer is provided by
subd. 3(g). “Hostile . . . environment”
is used in the statute only in reference to a claim of sexual harassment. Id., subd.
3(f)(3). As there is no allegation of
sexual harassment, the use of the term in this case is misplaced. Instead, Walker must show that the adverse actions of
the employer would compel an average, reasonable employee to quit and become
The ULJ’s findings
were consistent with Walker’s
testimony at the hearing and do not support the conclusion that she quit with
good reason caused by the employer. The
ULJ found that Walker
received a delayed and negative performance review. She expected a review,
which apparently was routine, and she knew that there were problems with the lockbox
system for which she was in charge.
Therefore, it was reasonable that she might receive a negative
review. Her salary remained the same as
before the regular review date, and she was placed on probation with the
specific expectation that she would improve her performance. An employer should be able to expect that it
can take such steps to correct poor performance. Walker also testified that she was deprived
of certain “tools” and it would be “hard or impossible” to satisfy the probation
conditions, but this, too, is speculative because she quit before trying to
satisfy them. In short, the facts do not
support the conclusion that Walker
was compelled to quit or that an average, reasonable employee would quit rather
than remain in the employment.