may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Ronald J. Schleyer,
Riverside Medical Center,
Commissioner of Economic Security,
Filed April 1, 1997
Department of Economic Security
File No. 6520UC96
Ronald J. Schleyer, 2925 Tremont Street, Unit A-2, Colorado Springs, CO 80907 (relator pro se)
Lori Shaw, Human Resources, Riverside Medical Center, 2450 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55454 (respondent/employer pro se)
Kent E. Todd, Minnesota Department of Economic Security, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent Commissioner)
Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Parker, Judge, and Huspeni, Judge.
Relator Ronald Schleyer appeals the determination of the Commissioner's representative that he voluntarily separated from his employment with respondent Riverside Medical Center without good cause attributable to his employer. We affirm.
D E C I S I O N
The narrow standard of review [for a reemployment compensation decision] requires that findings be viewed in the light most favorable to the decision, and if there is evidence reasonably tending to sustain them, they will not be disturbed.
White v. Metropolitan Med. Ctr., 332 N.W.2d 25, 26 (Minn. 1983). This court reviews the decision of the Commissioner's representative, not that of the reemployment insurance judge. Tuff v. Knitcraft Corp., 526 N.W.2d 50, 51 (Minn. 1995).
Resolution of conflicting testimony lies with the Commissioner. This court will not question the Commissioner's determination of credibility.
Nelson v. Bemidji Reg'l Interdistrict Council, 359 N.W.2d 38, 41 (Minn. App. 1984).
Schleyer argues that the decision of the Commissioner's representative is unfair. He contends that his acceptance of a well-paying employment offer with a Saudi Arabian company invokes the "better work" exception of the reemployment insurance statute, thereby entitling him to receive benefits. Because the new job offered a substantial increase in pay, Schleyer claims, his decision to leave Riverside was also for "good cause." Further, he contends that the representative's determination denying his claim because the new position was temporary and therefore not substantially better than his position at Riverside is also in error.
A person who voluntarily quits a job without good cause attributable to the employer is disqualified from receiving benefits for a certain period of time. Minn. Stat. § 268.09, subd. 1(a) (Supp. 1995). Whether an employee had good cause to quit is a question of law that "is not binding on this court if it does not have reasonable support in the findings." Zepp v. Arthur Treacher Fish & Chips, Inc., 272 N.W.2d 262, 263 (Minn. 1978). "Good cause" to quit has been defined as a reason that is "real, not imaginary, substantial not trifling, and reasonable, not whimsical; there must be some compulsion produced by extraneous and necessitous circumstances." Ferguson v. Department of Employment Servs., 311 Minn. 34, 44, 247 N.W.2d 895, 900 n.5 (1976).
However, Minn. Stat. § 268.09, subd. 1(c)(1) (Supp. 1995), provides an exception to the voluntary quit rule wherein an individual is not disqualified from receiving benefits when
the individual voluntarily discontinued employment to accept employment offering substantially better conditions or substantially higher wages or both; * * *
Minn. Stat. § 268.04, subd. 12(11)(a)-(c) (1994), defines "employment" to include
the service of an individual who is a citizen of the United States, performed outside the United States, * * * in the employ of an American employer * * * if:
(a) The employer's principal place of business in the United States is located in this state; or
(b) The employer has no place of business in the United States, but the employer is an individual who is a resident of this state, or the employer is a corporation which is organized under the laws of this state * * * ; or
(c) None of the criteria of clauses (a) and (b) is met but the employer has elected coverage in this state* * * .
The Commissioner's representative found that Schleyer's sole reason for quitting his employment with Riverside was to take advantage of the job offer in Saudi Arabia. She concluded that, based on the criteria outlined in Ferguson, Schleyer did not quit his job for good cause attributable to his employer. As to Schleyer's claim that the "better work" exception to disqualification applies, the representative found that the position Schleyer accepted with the privately owned Saudi Arabian company did not qualify as "employment" within the reemployment insurance statutory provisions. The representative then concluded that even if we were to assume that the Saudi company did pay taxes to support the reemployment insurance program, Schleyer's "temporary assignment," although higher paying, did not qualify as "substantially better" than his permanent part-time employment within the meaning of Minn. Stat. § 268.09, subd. 1(c)(1).
Schleyer has presented no evidence to show that the decision of the Commissioner's representative is in error. Schleyer does not dispute that he quit his job with Riverside to accept another employment offer. Both parties concede that the new job offer was more remunerative; however, choosing to pursue a new position for economic advantage does not always constitute "better work."
In this case, the evidence does not show that Schleyer would be entitled to benefits based on the "better work" exception. In addition to substantially better conditions and/or wages, Minn. Stat. § 268.04, subd. 12(11)(a)-(c), requires that the "employment" be in the service of an "American employer." See Minn. Stat. § 268. 04, subd. 12(11)(d) (1994) (for the purposes of this subdivision, an "American employer" means "a corporation organized under the laws of the United States or of any state). Schleyer accepted a job with a privately owned Saudi Arabian company not incorporated within the United States. Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 268.04, subd. 12(11)(d), we hold that Schleyer's new job did not constitute "employment" as required by the statute, and the "better work" exception is inapplicable. We conclude, therefore, that the determination of the Commissioner's representative is not in error.