This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. ' 480A.08, subd. 3 (1994).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Ralph H. Voegtli,
Maintenance Experts, Inc.,
Commissioner of Economic Security
Department of Economic Security
File No. 7106 UC 95
Filed June 11, 1996
Toussaint, Chief Judge
Ralph H. Voegtli, 3611 Hampshire Avenue North, Crystal, MN 55427-2273 (relator/pro se)
Maintenance Experts, c/o ADP-UCM Dept., P.O. Box 6502-8502, Diamond Bar, CA 91765-8502 (respondent/pro se)
Kent E. Todd, Department of Economic Security, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent Commissioner of Economic Security)
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Toussaint, Chief Judge, and Holtan, Judge.*
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge
In this certiorari appeal, relator Ralph H. Voegtli seeks review of the decision of the Commissioner of Economic Security denying his claim for reemployment insurance benefits. We affirm.
D E C I S I O N
The reemployment insurance system is intended to benefit individuals who become unemployed through "no fault of their own." Minn. Stat. ' 268.03 (1994). Relator was denied reemployment insurance benefits because it was determined he was discharged for misconduct. See Minn. Stat. ' 268.09, subd. 1(b) (1994) (an employee discharged from his or her employment for misconduct is not entitled to reemployment insurance benefits). The employer has the burden of proving that an employee is disqualified from receiving benefits because he or she was fired for misconduct. Lumpkin v. North Cent. Airlines, Inc., 296 Minn. 456, 459, 209 N.W.2d 397, 400 (1973).
On appeal from a decision of the Commissioner, the applicable standard of review is whether there is "reasonable support in the evidence" to sustain the decision of the Commissioner. Tuff v. Knitcraft Corp., 526 N.W.2d 50, 51 (Minn. 1995). This court views the Commissioner's findings in the light most favorable to the decision, and if there is evidence reasonably tending to sustain them, they will not be disturbed. Ress v. Abbott Northwestern Hosp., Inc., 448 N.W.2d 519, 523 (Minn. 1989). Whether an individual's conduct constitutes misconduct is a question of law, which this court reviews de novo. Id.
limited to conduct evincing such wilful or wanton disregard of an employer's interests as is found in deliberate violations or disregard of standards of behavior which the employer has the right to expect of his employee.
Tilseth v. Midwest Lumber Co., 295 Minn. 372, 374-75, 204 N.W.2d 644, 646 (1973). The supreme court has expanded this definition to include "conduct demonstrating a lack of concern by the employee for his job." Nieszner v. Dept. of Jobs & Training, 499 N.W.2d 832, 838 (Minn. App. 1993) (citing Feia v. St. Cloud State College, 309 Minn 564, 244 N.W.2d 635 (1976)).
A single incident may constitute misconduct, when an employee deliberately chooses a course of action adverse to the employer or if the employee sufficiently disregards his or her employer's expectations. Ress, 448 N.W.2d at 524; Colburn v. Pine Portage Madden Bros., 346 N.W.2d 159, 161 (Minn. 1984); Nieszner, 499 N.W.2d at 838. Rude or other offensive conduct to customers may constitute misconduct. See Iteker v. LaCrescent Nursing Ctr., Inc., 207 N.W.2d 713 (Minn. 1973) (misconduct committed where nurse's aid in nursing home used harsh or unkind language on two separate occasions in expressing her dissatisfaction with bed-ridden patient's failure to control bodily functions); Holton v. Gnan Trucking, Inc., 379 N.W.2d 571 (Minn. App. 1985) (employee on three separate occasions was rude, threatening, and offensive); Pitzel v. Packaged Furniture, & Carpet, 362 N.W.2d 357 (Minn. App. 1985)(claimant who became aggressive and offensive with customers and was disruptive committed misconduct).
Relator worked for respondent Maintenance Experts Inc., first as a district manager and then as a project crew lead person. The record indicates that on June 2, 1995, relator drove himself and two co-workers to a job site in the company van. During this commute, relator made vulgar and threatening remarks about his employer in a loud and angry voice and threatened to damage his employer's property. Later, relator also threatened his co-workers. At the job site,