This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
David M. Hase,
Creative Woodcuts, Inc.,
Department of Employment and Economic Development,
Filed February 27, 2007
Department of Employment and Economic Development
File No. 975 06
David M. Hase, 3824 Van Buren Street Northeast, Columbia Heights, MN 55421 (pro se relator)
Creative Woodcuts, Inc., Paul Brown, P.O. Box 1458, Maple Grove, MN 55311 (respondent)
Lee B. Nelson, Linda A. Holmes, Department of Employment and Economic Development, First National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200, St. Paul, MN 55101-1351 (for respondent Department)
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge; Willis, Judge; and Shumaker, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
By writ of certiorari, pro se relator challenges the decision of the unemployment-law judge that relator quit his employment and is therefore disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. We affirm.
Pro se relator David Hase was employed by respondent Creative Woodcuts, Inc. as an engraver from June 2004 until December 2005. In December 2005, Creative Woodcuts was in the process of moving to a new location. Hase suggested to the company’s owner, Paul Brown, that Hase and a co-worker be laid off for the month of December because the move to the new location would be “stressful” and would make it difficult to be productive and because the business typically closed for a week in December anyway. Hase and Brown continued to discuss the possibility, and Brown refused “several times through the day” to lay off Hase and the co-worker. Ultimately, Brown told Hase and the co-worker something to the effect of “do what you need to do” and “go file for unemployment.” Hase stopped appearing for work.
Hase applied for and was denied unemployment benefits. He appealed the disqualification determination to an unemployment-law judge (ULJ). The ULJ held a hearing and found Hase disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits on the ground that Hase quit his employment. Hase filed a request for reconsideration with the ULJ and asked the ULJ to consider additional evidence. The ULJ concluded that no additional evidentiary hearing was required and affirmed his initial decision. Hase appeals to this court by writ of certiorari.
D E C I S I O N
An employee who quits his employment without a good reason caused by his employer is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(1) (Supp. 2005). Hase argues that the ULJ incorrectly determined that Hase quit his employment. This court may reverse or modify the decision of the ULJ
if the substantial rights of the petitioner may have been prejudiced because the findings, inferences, conclusion, or decision are:
(1) in violation of constitutional provisions;
(2) in excess of the statutory authority or jurisdiction of the department;
(3) made upon unlawful procedure;
(4) affected by other error of law;
(5) unsupported by substantial evidence in view of the entire record as submitted; or
(6) arbitrary or capricious.
Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d) (2006).
An employee has quit his employment “when the decision to end the employment was, at the time the employment ended, the employee’s.” Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 2(a) (2004); Shanahan v. Dist. Mem’l Hosp., 495 N.W.2d 894, 896 (Minn. App. 1993). And a “discharge from employment occurs when any words or actions by an employer would lead a reasonable employee to believe that the employer will no longer allow the employee to work for the employer in any capacity.” Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 5(a) (2004).
Hase contends that the ULJ incorrectly determined that Hase quit his employment and argues that he was in fact laid off. Hase and Brown offered conflicting testimony at the hearing regarding what each understood to be the outcome of the discussions they had on Hase’s final day of employment. Hase also asserts that there was no work to be done at Creative Woodcuts when his employment ended, which Brown disputed at the hearing when he testified that he told Hase that he needed someone to answer the phones, to complete an order that had been placed, and to complete other orders that Brown knew would be placed in December.
Whether an employee quit his employment is a question of fact. Midland Elec., Inc. v. Johnson, 372 N.W.2d 810, 812 (Minn. App. 1985). When witness credibility and conflicting evidence are at issue, this court defers to the ULJ’s credibility determinations. Skarhus v. Davanni’s Inc., 721 N.W.2d 340, 344 (Minn. App. 2006).
The ULJ found that “Hase knew that continuing employment was available to him and that it was his decision to discontinue the employment” and that Hase’s former employer “told Hase to do what he wanted to do and go file for unemployment only after Hase persisted in his request to be laid off.” Finding that “Hase could not have reasonably concluded that Creative Woodcuts would no longer allow him to continue in the employment,” the ULJ determined that Hase quit his employment. The ULJ’s determination that Hase quit his employment is supported by substantial evidence, particularly Brown’s testimony at the hearing and Hase’s testimony at the hearing and admission on appeal that he requested to be laid off. See Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d); E.H. Schrupp & Assocs., Inc. v. Stansberry, 412 N.W.2d 808, 810 (Minn. App. 1987) (determining that an employee who requested to be laid off quit his employment).
Hase argues, and argued in his request for reconsideration, that the fact that his former co-worker, whose employment with Creative Woodcuts ended under the “same circumstances,” was granted unemployment benefits shows that Hase is entitled to unemployment benefits. Hase submitted to this court a notarized statement by the former co-worker that was not submitted to the ULJ. But this statement is not part of the record, and we will not consider it. See Thiele v. Stich, 425 N.W.2d 580, 582-83 (Minn. 1988) (noting that appellate review is limited to the record received at the proceedings below).
The determination by the ULJ that the co-worker’s separation from Creative Woodcuts occurred under “facts and circumstances” different from Hase’s separation is a determination of fact that is supported by substantial evidence, particularly the co-worker’s testimony at the hearing, which showed that the co-worker was not involved in many of the repeated discussions between Hase and Brown regarding Hase’s request to be laid off. Further, Hase provides no support for his contention that the fact that his co-worker was able to secure unemployment benefits should be dispositive of his case.
We affirm the ULJ’s determination that Hase quit his employment and therefore is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because the determination is supported by substantial evidence and because the fact that Hase’s former co-worker is not disqualified does not require reversal.
When he requested reconsideration of the ULJ’s decision, Hase submitted three pieces of evidence that were not submitted at the hearing: (1) a tape recording of a conversation between Brown and Hase; (2) a “certification of group health plan coverage”; and (3) a copy of Hase’s final paycheck. Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 2(c) (2006), provides:
In deciding a request for reconsideration, the unemployment law judge shall not, except for purposes of determining whether to order an additional evidentiary hearing, consider any evidence that was not submitted at the evidentiary hearing conducted under subdivision 1.
The unemployment law judge must order an additional evidentiary hearing if an involved party shows that evidence which was not submitted at the evidentiary hearing: (1) would likely change the outcome of the decision and there was good cause for not having previously submitted that evidence; or (2) would show that the evidence that was submitted at the evidentiary hearing was likely false and that the likely false evidence had an effect on the outcome of the decision.
The ULJ concluded that the evidence did not require an additional evidentiary hearing. Hase argues that an additional evidentiary hearing is required because the new evidence shows that false evidence was submitted at the hearing. See id., subd. 2(c)(2). “A reviewing court accords deference to a ULJ’s decision not to hold an additional hearing and will reverse that decision only for an abuse of discretion.” Skarhus, 721 N.W.2d at 345.
The ULJ described the tape recording in his order of affirmation and concluded that the evidence does not show that the testimony at the hearing was likely false. Hase argues that the tape recording shows that Brown was “considering calling [Hase] back to work,” which contradicts Brown’s testimony. The ULJ noted in his order of affirmation that the tape recording contains a conversation in which Hase asked Brown about returning to work, and Brown replied that he would decide later. Hase also points out that on the tape recording, Hase refers to his separation as a lay-off, and Brown does not correct his use of that term. But the fact that Brown was considering whether to allow Hase to return to work is not relevant to the circumstance of Hase’s separation, and the fact that Brown did not correct Hase’s use of the term “lay-off” does not prove that he agreed with Hase’s characterization. We agree with the ULJ that the tape recording does not show that testimony at the hearing was “likely false.” See Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 2(c).
The ULJ also addressed the “certification of group health plan coverage.” The document reflects a “Term Date” of November 30, 2005. Hase refers to the date as a “termination date” and claims that a customer-service representative of the health-insurance company told him that Brown had indicated that the health-insurance termination was “due to the business closing.” But nothing on the document indicates the reason for the health-insurance termination or even that a termination of coverage took place, and the document fails to show that testimony at the hearing was likely false.
The ULJ did not address in his order of affirmation the copy of Hase’s final paycheck that Hase submitted with his request for reconsideration. Hase asserts that the paycheck shows that “Brown was still deducting for [Hase’s] health insurance when it was cancelled due to the business closing November 30, 2005.” Although the ULJ could have addressed the paycheck in his determination that no additional hearing was necessary, the paycheck does not show that testimony at the hearing was likely false, and Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 2(c), does not require the ULJ to address each piece of evidence offered.
None of the evidence that Hase submitted with his request for reconsideration required the ULJ to order an additional hearing under Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 2(c), and the ULJ did not abuse his discretion when he declined to do so.