This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Lisa T. Truong,
G M L Incorporated,
Department of Employment and Economic Development,
Department of Employment and Economic Development
File No. 10641 06
G M L Incorporated,
Lee B. Nelson, Linda A. Holmes, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, First National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200, St. Paul, MN 55101 (respondent department)
Considered and decided by Wright, Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Minge, Judge.
By writ of certiorari, relator challenges an unemployment law judge’s determination that she quit her employment and is therefore disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. We affirm.
Relator Lisa Truong was employed as a full-time quality inspector by respondent G M L Inc. (GML) from June 3, 2002 until April 21, 2006. Truong’s job duties consisted of confirming that production parts met customer requirements.
On January 1, 2006, Mike McGovern became the manager of GML’s quality department. He gave Truong a handout outlining procedures for the department. Under these procedures, quality inspectors were to reject nonconforming parts. McGovern would then review the nonconforming parts and confer with the company’s engineering department to determine whether the parts could be put back into production. Before McGovern became manager of the department, Truong’s duties included investigating the disposition of rejected parts. But under the company’s new procedures, Truong was no longer responsible for pursuing these issues.
On April 21, 2006, McGovern questioned Truong about work that was to be completed. Truong told McGovern that she had “plenty [of] work,” was under “a lot of pressure,” and was “really busy.” Truong reported that this meeting “really upset” her. Later that afternoon, Truong brought a part to McGovern and asked whether it should be rejected. McGovern asked Truong what she would normally do. When Truong responded that she would normally reject it, he told her to do that. Because McGovern did not look at the part or the blueprint, Truong discussed the part with a coworker in the customer-service department. McGovern witnessed Truong’s exchange with the customer-service worker and told Truong that he thought that the matter had been settled.
Shortly later, McGovern saw Truong talking about the part with coworkers in the production department. McGovern contacted the vice president of the quality department, who told McGovern to give Truong an oral warning. That afternoon, McGovern met with Truong in his office. After Truong explained why she had asked others about the nonconforming part, McGovern told her that he intended to give her an oral warning. Truong told McGovern “I quit,” packed her personal belongings, and left. Truong was scheduled to work the following Tuesday, but she did not report for work that day or any subsequent days. On April 27, the vice president of GML’s human-resources department sent Truong a letter, confirming that Truong had quit her employment on April 21.
Truong applied for and was denied unemployment benefits. On August 2, 2006, she appealed the disqualification determination to an unemployment law judge (ULJ). The ULJ held a hearing and found that Truong was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because she had quit her employment. The ULJ said that other than stress, Truong had no good reason caused by GML to quit. The ULJ never states whether the stress on Truong was a good reason to quit. Rather, the ULJ emphasizes that Truong did not give the employer an opportunity to correct her grievance. Truong filed a request for reconsideration with the ULJ. The ULJ affirmed the initial decision. Truong now appeals to this court by writ of certiorari.
The issue in this case is whether the ULJ erred in determining that Truong quit her employment without giving the employer an opportunity to correct the situation. This court may affirm the ULJ’s decision, remand the case for further proceedings, or reverse or modify the decision if Truong’s
substantial rights . . . 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 and capricious.
is no dispute that Truong quit her employment, but Truong contends that the
poor working relationship she had with her supervisor qualifies as a good
reason to quit caused by her employer.
An employee who voluntarily quits cannot receive unemployment benefits
unless he or she quit for “a good reason caused by the employer.”
The record indicates that Truong asserted that she was “depressed” working with McGovern, her new boss. Truong stated that although she was doing her job, McGovern told her something was wrong. At the time of their last meeting, Truong asserts that she was “really upset” due to her encounter with McGovern earlier in the day. Truong believed that by conducting a further inquiry into the rejected part, she was simply “doing [her] job.” At the end of her conversation Truong said, “[T]hat’s it, you don’t have to give me a warning, I just quit, I can’t work with you anymore.” Because the ULJ appeared to assume that Truong at least arguably had a reason to quit, we do not review that aspect of this case. Rather, the ULJ emphasized that the existence of an adverse working condition does not justify quitting, unless the employee complains to the employer and gives the employer a reasonable opportunity to correct the adverse working condition. See Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 3(c) (2004).
When asked by the ULJ why she did not report the upsetting conversation to a supervisor or the human resources department, Truong responded, “McGovern [is] my supervisor already.” After her conversation with McGovern, Truong spoke with a production manager, who called the vice president of the quality department. Truong testified that she did not raise the issue with human resources because she did not think her complaint would be seriously considered. Other than this bare claim of futility, Truong made no showing that the human resources office or management would have failed to assist her in resolving what she thought was a hostile work situation. The ULJ found that Truong quit and that she did not seek the assistance of the appropriate authorities within the company to address her grievances. We conclude that these findings are supported by substantial evidence in the record.
Troung claims that McGovern failed to provide accurate information. As a reviewing court, we defer to the ULJ’s
credibility determinations. Jenson v. Dep’t of Econ. Sec., 617
N.W.2d 627, 631 (
Because the record supports the ULJ’s findings, we affirm the ULJ’s denial of unemployment benefits.